A pair of superfights involving longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva have been subject to more speculation than any other potential mixed martial arts match in recent years. Would it be Silva against welterweight counterpart Georges St-Pierre, or would he go up and face light heavyweight champ Jon Jones?
Based on the latter's comments Monday, a Silva-GSP fight could come sooner than Silva-Jones. In a media teleconference promoting Saturday's UFC 159, Jones, who defends his title against Chael Sonnen at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., says a superfight is on his mind, but he has a goal he wishes to accomplish first: Breaking the record for most successful light heavyweight title defenses.
UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz currently holds the mark, with five successful title defenses in a reign which stretched from 2000-03. If Jones, a heavy favorite against Sonnen, wins on Saturday, he'll match Ortiz's mark. Jones has previously defended his title against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort, all former 205-pound champs.
In Jones' perfect world, he'd defeat Sonnen, then return for title defense No. 5 in November -- preferably in his home state of New York, should the ban on MMA be lifted in time.
"One thing I've been contemplating is first tying Tito Ortiz, and then establishing that record of the most wins in my next fight maybe in November."
After that? Jones would be open to new options, whether it's a superfight or bouts in a higher weight class.
"Then after that fight in November, entertaining superfights and heavyweight fights," Jones continued.
Jones neither mentioned Silva by name nor offered a specific heavyweight opponent he might have in mind. But that's understandable, since even though most observers give Sonnen little chance of winning the light heavyweight belt, Jones is still the one who actually has to step in the Octagon on Saturday and fight. So he's doing his best to keep his thoughts on his opponent.
Particularly, Jones seems to have a point to prove in the wrestling department. Sonnen was an NCAA All-America wrestler at the University of Oregon; Jones' amateur career maxed out at the junior college level.
"I don't think no one respects my wrestling at all. No one respects it at all," Jones said. "I have a lot of pride going into this fight and maybe I'll take him down more than he'll take me down. You never know. I'm excited to go out there and prove my critics wrong again about me being this inferior wrestler. I don't think people give my junior college accolades respect. I'm going to earn respect in this fight. "