UFC Vegas 19’s Aleksei Oleinik: Without 205lb Belt, No Immediate Title Shot Warranted for Jon Jones

Aleksei Oleinik has been in the sport of mixed martial arts longer than just about anyone on the UFC roster, in terms of both years, and fights. Technically, with Anderson Silva and Yoel Romero gone, only Marion Reneau is older — by a whopping five days. Boasting a record of 59-14-1, Oleinik has been fighting since 1996, and there’s no sign of stopping just yet.

All that experience makes Oleinik, who fights prospect Chris Daukaus this weekend at UFC Vegas 19, one of the elder statesmen of both the heavyweight division, and frankly the sport. And on Thursday, speaking at a virtual media day to promote this weekend’s event, he gave his take on Jon Jones cutting the line at heavyweight for a title shot.

Mainly, “The Boa Constrictor” tackled the question of whether Jones deserves an immediate title opportunity. “I think, of course he deserves it, but better if he held a belt,” said Oleinik, in reference to Jones’ old 205lb title. “But now he hasn’t this belt. This means he must do one or two fights at heavyweight, and only after that, if he wins, he is maybe a contender for the belt. Not from the first fight.”

As for his own fight this weekend, Oleinik has a target on his back, with the younger Daukaus looking to make a name for himself. But as the veteran noted, Daukaus isn’t exactly an 0-0 fighter. Besides which, “any fighter in the UFC is one of the strongest fighters in the world,” he observed. With two wins and two finishes inside the octagon, Oleinik knows his opponent is dangerous.

Daukaus has even suggested he would be comfortable on the ground with Oleinik. Asked if he felt his opponent could hang with him there, Oleinik answered with a “maybe.”

“I don’t know, because I can’t find a ground game with [this] guy,” said Oleinik. “I don’t know what he can do on the ground. This is a secret from me.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 19 virtual media day scrum with Aleksei Oleinik above! The event takes place Saturday, February 20 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.