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Luke Rockhold: ‘Not a chance’ Jon Jones ever beats Cain Velasquez

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's been years since Jon Jones first teased an eventual move up to heavyweight. With his lanky 6-foot-4 frame and UFC-best 84.5-inch reach, the reigning light heavyweight champ and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport has always believed he'd be competitive in MMA's hardest-hitting division.

But now, with the UFC's 205-pound weight class, at most, two or three fights away from being cleared out, Jones has begun plotting out a course for his future that includes potential superfights against heavyweight's elite. So that begs a curious question: could Jones stack up well against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez if the two met in a blockbuster fight next year?

"Not a chance," said Luke Rockhold, Velasquez's training partner at AKA who is tasked with mimicking Jones in sparring ahead of Daniel Cormier's upcoming UFC 182 title fight.

"Cain, just the storm that he can put on you, you can't stop it. I've trained with the guy, I've sparred with him so many times, and when he wants to get after you, he's going to get after you. You can only run away so long. Jon Jones doesn't have the style to keep him off him. Cain is just a beast, he'll bull his way right through him."

Jones told reporters at Monday's ‘The Time is Now' press conference that because he walks around at 230 pounds, he doesn't feel like it'd be too difficult to pack on five to 10 more pounds and match up against the smaller heavyweights in the division. Jones specifically mentioned Fabricio Werdum by name, saying of the interim titleholder who weighed in at 232 pounds for his last bout, "I would fight him every day, all day."

Still, a move to heavyweight remains strictly a fun hypothetical at this point, as Jones has at least two more obvious opponents to get through at light heavyweight -- first Cormier, then the winner of Jan. 24's Alexander Gustafsson-Anthony Johnson fight -- before the conversation can even begin to gain some steam.

"[After] those two fights, I would consider the division clear, and that's when I would start to entertain superfights," said Jones. "Superfights I would go for. I've been training with heavyweights for years now. I know what it feels like, and I think I would do really good against them. So that would be the next chapter."