While Internet geeks may have already crowned Jon Jones the UFC light heavyweight champion, the 23-year-old knows there’s still a long and violent road that awaits him. Not only towards claiming MMA’s sexiest title, but living up to the unprecedented levels of hoopla to become the sport’s G.O.A.T.
It was reported Saturday that Ryan Bader will serve as Jones’ next potential victim. Although “The Ultimate Fighter 8” winner represents his stiffest challenge to date, “Bones” can’t wait to get crackin’.
“If that’s the fight to have, I’m excited,” Jones said on this week’s edition of Inside MMA.
Bader posted a unanimous decision victory over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira last week at UFC 119. Although he owns a flawless 12-0 mark, three of his last four have resulted in mundane decisions courtesy of his superior ground game. While Octagon brass believe they have dropped the gauntlet, Jones is anxious to showcase his complete arsenal.
“I’ve been trying to prove that since my debut,” Jones said of capabilities on the canvas. “I’m trying to secure a respect level in my wrestling. I’m sure with Ryan Bader, the advantage he’ll have going in is to be the better wrestler. I want to try and prove the UFC wrong again.
“It’ll be fun.”
Champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has reignited the division with his last two fights, however remains on the mend with his third knee surgery. Although a full recovery is expected, former title holder Rashad Evans has already been promised dibs.
It’s believed the winner of the Jones/Bader scrap will fall in line after that. Although, what happens between former champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 – and possibly more importantly, how it ends – could leapfrog the youngsters.
Either way, there are plenty of formidable adversaries for Jones now that he sits among the light heavyweight elite. There are very few the Gambling Gods wouldn’t have him favored against, and the Greg Jackson trained athlete is fully prepared to prove their prophecies true.
“I’m ready to fight some strikers. I’m ready to fight some southpaws,” Jones ambitiously stated. “I’m ready to really mix it up, maybe some jiu jitsu black belts. But if this is what I have, this is what I have.”
Answer: Who is UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva.
Question: Which mixed martial artist meets every requirement on Jon Jones’ wish list?