Jones, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, hasn’t been in action in over a year. The 34-year-old last entered the Octagon at UFC 247 against Dominick Reyes. In a competitive fight, Jones secured a unanimous decision victory and, in doing so, defended the 205-pound gold for the 11th time.
After clearing out his opposition at light heavyweight, Jones vacated the belt and announced his intention to move up to heavyweight. After a dispute over fighter pay left the former champion on the sideline this year, the #1 pound-for-pound fighter looks set to return in 2022. He even recently took to Twitter to remind the MMA community of his ongoing goal in the sport.
But despite looking set to challenge the likes of Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic in the UFC’s heaviest weight class, speculation surrounding potential matchups with the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz and the UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya continue to exist.
During an appearance on Submission Radio, Jackson Wink MMA coach Mike Winkeljohn discussed the possibility of Jones meeting either man in the Octagon.
“Jan, that would be the scarier fight, honestly, with the strength that he has… I think so, a little bit. I think it’s all about the hype, and it’s a show, and hyping it up and stuff. And Israel was able to do that. And the coming together of two big names, which sometimes doesn’t have anything to do with the skill level, is kind of exciting.” (h/t MMA Mania)
Despite admitting that the hype would be higher for a bout between Jones and “The Last Stylebender,” Winkeljohn added that Adesanya isn’t “the guy” anymore, which is why a matchup with Blachowicz is more appealing for “Bones.”
“At this point, it would be Jan. There’s no doubt about that. If Jon was motivated to go to 205, he wouldn’t want to fight Israel because Israel’s not the guy anymore. And Jon wants the challenge and also understands the real world. And that doesn’t make sense to me either. You can talk all you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re the best. It’s nice when you’re the best and you talk, maybe a little bit just to sell the match. But Jan would definitely be the one I would think. I’m not sure that jazzes Jon at the moment. Like I said, when Jon feels challenged and he wants to push, that’s when it gets really exciting for us to be around him and be at the gym.”
At UFC 259 this year, Blachowicz handed Israel Adesanya his first loss in MMA. In the Nigerian-New Zealander’s attempt at becoming a simultaneous two-division champion, the 205-pound champion overwhelmed him across five rounds and defended his title for the first time.
Given his recent form and dominance since a defeat to Thiago Santos back in 2019, a matchup between the Polish powerhouse and Jon Jones has become more appealing. If the former champ ventures back down from heavyweight, it stands to reason a clash with Blachowicz will be on the cards.
Who would you rather see Jon Jones face? Jan Blachowicz or Israel Adesanya?