Jon "Bones" Jones has just cleared out the light heavyweight division since he was the youngest fighter to win a UFC championship when he conquered his first belt in 2011 at the age of 23.
The 32-year-old will have his eleventh UFC 247 title defense in Houston on Saturday night when he takes on undefeated Dominick Reyes. ESPN + PPV will stream the main card live.
Jones (25-1, 1 NC) insists he won't look past Reyes (12-0), but has hinted that his next heavyweight fight could take place, in which Stipe Miocic will serve as two-time champion.
"I've been fighting heavyweights all my life," Jones said recently. “My brother is one of the best heavyweights in New York State Wrestling history and I would wrestle him in high school every day. I've trained with a lot of big heavyweights for years, so I can compete very well with guys who are taller and stronger than me.
"I think all the questions I need to answer are how to deal with weight gain and all of these things. There are only a lot of factors that I don't know that would probably motivate me. "
Jones suggested he wouldn't need a refresher fight before challenging the hard-headed Miocic for his title. Former light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier rose to heavyweight in July 2018 and defeated Miocic in the round of 16. In August last year, Miocic won the title with a round of 16. Meanwhile, Jones has an official win over Cormier and another that was knocked over when Jones failed a drug test.
Jones said he thinks he can handle Miocic, who is recovering from an eye injury he sustained while rematching with Cormier.
"I feel like I could beat him completely because of his DC accomplishments, our speed differences, my combat IQ, my versatility, my confidence, and my confidence," Jones told ESPN. "I think I'm the type who can beat him safely."
Jones has to go first
It's about Reyes, who has nine round of 16, four of which will come in less than a minute. The main event will come after Valentina Shevchenko defends her UFC flyweight championship against Katlyn Chookagain.
Jones didn't initially see much value in fighting Reyes until he studied his ability to defeat his opponents and his unbeaten record.
"I really like that he's undefeated," said Jones. “I think something special comes up in me when I fight undefeated boys. Dominick has the attitude of being superior and it will feel great to give him his first impression of defeat. "
This will be Jones & # 39; fourth fight in 14 months, a consequence that refreshed his career after a series of personal struggles between 2015 and 2017 when he was stripped of his title for disciplinary reasons. His violations included the arrest of charges, drug abuse problems and a positive test for a banned substance. This is his third title defense since regaining the belt in December 2018 with a TKO over Alexander Gustafsson. With his plans to fight three times this year, Jones offers a level of consistency that seemed uncertain as he went through his struggles.
He said he went through almost 30 USADA 2019 drug tests to check that he was clean.
"I know that nobody has been tested for drugs as much as I have," said Jones. "People who have things to hide don't get involved in this kind of drug testing. I think it will help me justify it over time."
Jones, who is leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico, is big business for the UFC and important for partnering with ESPN. Conor McGregor's return to the Octagon against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone at UFC 246 sold more than 1 million PPV purchases, the first seven-number streaming event in history. In addition, ESPN added + 500,000 new subscribers. Jones, who is considered the UFC's best pound-for-pound fighter, should bring additional subscribers.