Should Jon Jones make his heavyweight debut, it would be very difficult to argue that it would not be the most heavily anticipated division-move in the history of MMA. Just last week, the MMA community was abuzz because it seemed as though that day had arrived when Jon Jones strongly hinted at a fight between himself and Stipe Miocic being on its way to International Fight Week.
And when Stipe Miocic responded to Jones’s tweet with interest, that only fanned the flames further. But as it turns out, Jon Jones was trolling the fans and he will be facing Thiago Santos instead on July 6 at UFC 238. So what would it take for Jon Jones to move up to heavyweight or, specifically fight Stipe Miocic? Jon Jones’s coach Mike Winkeljohn discloses what he knows, and doesn’t know, as well as some insight on what he believes would get Jon Jones to fight a Stipe Miocic (interview transcript via BJPenn.com)
“I thought we were fighting Santos the whole time,” Winkeljohn said on Submission Radio. “I have no idea if the UFC was involved in it or that was just Jon pulling his leg. I think the UFC would have to throw a lot of money at him. They want to make money too, so I can’t blame Jon for wanting to make some money as well.
“It has nothing to do with [being an] interesting [fight]. Jon’s just all about the challenge. If the big fight money came in the heavyweight division, he probably would go for it.”
Right now, Jon Jones is focused on doing what is a rarity nowadays: defending his championship against all comers. And whether Thiago Santos or had he faced Stipe Miocic, whomever faces Jones next will be facing a driven force to be reckoned with according to Coach Mike Winkeljohn:
“But Jon right now seems to be content with cleaning out the light heavyweight division, staying active and doing what most people don’t do, which is fight quite often and beat everybody up and continue on towards his legacy. I think he’s learned a lot from the past, he seems focused, he’s been in the gym that much more. And gosh, the Jon Jones that’s in the gym all the time, as you saw with the second [Alexander] Gustafson fight, where he starts figuring things out, he’s scary.”
Do you believe we will ever see Jon Jones move up to the heavyweight division?