With divisional challenges ahead, Jon Jones in no rush to move to heavyweight


Jones has faced the question enough that now he's ready to have some fun with it. During Tuesday's Los Angeles stop of the UFC World Tour, the champ playfully responded to the expected queries about such a move.

"Look at this guy next to me?" he said, smiling as he turned to heavyweight title holder Cain Velasquez "Would you guys fight him? I don't know, guys. I don't know."

Somehow, you knew that wasn't going to be the end of it. After going on to answer questions about his UFC 165 opponent Alexander Gustafsson, his odds of beating his NFL brothers Art and Chandler in a fight -- according to him, Art could "definitely" beat him, but Chandler definitely could not -- and the difficulties of growing up in the spotlight, the question came back around.

Hadn't allusions been made to Jones' move in the past? Why was he backtracking now?

"I just said that because Cainís next to me. I didn't want it to be awkward," he said, laughing, before moving on to his real answer.

"Eventually," he said. "Iím getting older, Iím growing, I'm getting stronger. Why not? Yeah, for sure."

But first, the Swede. At 6-foot-5, Gustafsson is actually an inch taller than Jones, making it a matchup capable of silencing the critics who chalk up his success to his size. This time, it's completely negated.

For Jones, that's the exciting part, as if he needs to remind people that he was at a tremendous experience disadvantage when he shot through the ranks to capture the belt. As if he needs to reinforce his legitimacy.

"I don't think your body really has much to do with the game," he said. "Obviously it helps, but itís really about your mind, your mentality, the way you train. I've been wrestling since I was 14 years old. I've been wanting to be a winner at life for a very long time, and now I have this opportunity to go as far as I can take it. And I know that. Will he be a tough challenge? Who knows? He could be, or maybe he won't. Iím going to train hard though."

With that, it's as if he is saying that the outcome is not up to Gustafsson, it's up to him. That Gustafsson is just another domino to be knocked down. All Jones has to do is supply the power.

Past that, he sees at last one more challenge. When UFC president Dana White was asked whether a win over Gustafsson would mean that Jones has swept the division of top contenders, some fans seemed to disagree, shouting out names.

Jones, listening intently as he always does, seemed to hear one name among the many.

"Glover," he said, without picking up the microphone, as if he was saying it to himself. With that, he nodded, perhaps charting his own future.