Could 2020 be the year Jon Jones moves up to the heavyweight division? Ahead of UFC 247, the 205lb champ suggested it’s possible.
Las Vegas, NV — While the spotlight is on UFC 245’s trio of title fights this weekend, light heavyweight champ Jon Jones is never far from the limelight. On Friday, the UFC kicked off promotion for Jone’s next trip to the octagon, at UFC 247 in Houston this coming February.
It’s still almost two months away, but the return of ‘Bones’ against Dominick Reyes already has fans excited. Some in support of Jones (25-1, 1NC), some hoping Reyes will be the man to finally dethrone him. With that in mind, a rough crowd welcomed Jon Jones Friday at the UFC 247 press conference. But the 205lb champ took it all in stride.
If the Reyes fight isn’t the most compelling on paper, Jones is at least trying to sell it as a grudge match. As to how the bad blood between them came about, Jones pointed to Reyes’ recent performance against Chris Weidman at UFC Boston. “Well Dominick wins his last fight. We’ve never met in person, I’ve never shaken this guy’s hand,” Jones began. “And the guy instead of just being cordial or being a martial artist and showing a degree of respect, he gets on the microphone, young and immature, and says ‘I don’t need party favors, I need the world title.’ And that’s how it started.”
As MMA trash talk goes, it’s not quite Chael Sonnen or Conor McGregor levels. Enough to get Jones’ attention, however. “But it’s all good, we’re here now, you got what you asked for, and I’m going to put my hands on him.”
While Jones had in the past spoken highly of Reyes, he said Friday that “I know nothing about him, honestly. I know nothing about him. I see the games he wants to play with the insults. And I don’t really care. I don’t really care. At the end of the day, my job is to destroy this dude, and start focusing on 2020. I’m going to have a great 2020, and it starts out by destroying Dominick.”
“I don’t know if I want to knock him out, choke him out, but I’m going to get him, I promise you that,” he added.
A great 2020 could include a move to heavyweight, it seems. In fact, 2019 almost did. Jones revealed that he had tried to land a fight with Stipe Miocic earlier in the year. Jones tweeted in September that he had a big fight announcement coming. “I was trying to get a Stipe Miocic fight.” Instead, he pointed out, the UFC booked Miocic vs. DC 3. “At the moment I was so ready to go to heavyweight,” he added, “and stick my hands hands on some of those big fellas.”
While that fight didn’t happen, heavyweight is on the horizon, suggested Jones. “After the Thiago Santos fight I was in a place where I wanted to start entertaining the heavyweight division,” he later added. “I’ve been wrestling my brother my whole life, and going with Andrei Arlovski and [Alistair] Oevreem and all these big guys my whole career. And I’ve always done well.”
One key factor is how his body has responded with more weight on it. “At 240 I move just as fast as I do at light heavyweight,” said Jones. “My versatility I realize is not things that most heavyweights can do. Spinning things, flying knees, things like that. I feel really good. I feel the time is going to be really close. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened in 2020.”