In August, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones vacated his title and announced that he would be moving up to heavyweight to pursue new challenges. For many, the move was a long time coming for the most dominant light heavyweight champion of all-time, and though we still don’t have a timeline or even an opponent for his heavyweight debut, for Jones, things are going according to plan.
Speaking with ESPN this week, Jones discussed his impending move up and all the work that he’s put into it, namely, specific training to add functional mass for when he has to compete against bigger men.
“It’s a different feel for me,” Jones said. “I would never really train in between fights. I would allow myself to get fat. To train now with no fight scheduled, it’s different. It shows maturity and it shows how much I really want to do this.
“I’m trying to change my whole makeup. There are some guys that are way bigger than me up there. I’m just constantly pushing ... I have to commit my whole life to this project. I’m committed.”
Jones has reportedly added 20 pounds since he began the process, working with a strength and conditioning team six times a week. Those gains are reflected in his social media which he periodically updates with images of his progress. More importantly, these gains, Jones’ team says, have not come at the expense of his speed or technical skill, which they believe will make him even more dangerous at heavyweight than he was at light heavyweight. And Jones will need to be exactly that as the former champion admits that part of the allure of moving up in weight is that heavyweights present a more daunting challenge than the ones he’s been use to at 205 pounds.
“The light heavyweight division was fun, but I just wasn’t scared of those guys anymore,” Jones said. “Like, none of them. And I think it showed in some of my performances. Obviously, I still trained hard. But there was no urgency in some of my last fights.
“With these next guys, I’m going to be going up against, I respect these guys. These guys are intimidating - they’re intimidating as sh*t. It just gets me up in a whole different way.”
But though his preparation is going well, the question remains of when and against whom will he make his debut in the division. Many have speculated that given his reign of dominance at 205, Jones would receive an immediate title shot upon moving up. The only problem with that is this happens to be one of the rare times that the heavyweight division has a log jam of contenders. Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have tied up the heavyweight title for the last three years with their trilogy and during that time both Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes have put together resumes worthy of a title shot, not to mention other big name fighters like Alistair Overeem who are trying to sneak in one last chance for gold. Then there’s the matter of whether Jones would even want to jump right to a title fight or put his toe in the water instead, something “Bones” says he hasn’t made up his mind over.
“I go back and forth,” Jones said. “Sometimes I think I should take like a top-10 guy and just get my feet wet, figure out what’s happening. And then the other times, I think, ‘F*ck it. Let’s just go big or go home.’ I’m trying to get these big-money fights these days. I like taking care of everybody around me.”
But whether he jumps right to a title shot or takes another fight beforehand, at this point the goal for Jones is the same. In recent months, Jones has taken heat for lashing out at fans and fighters who have argued that someone other than Jones is the greatest fighter of all time. Specifically, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s win over Justin Gaethje that had him leapfrog Jones in the pound-for-pound rankings and had some people say he’s the GOAT, got a huge reaction out of Jones and now his primary focus is on ending that conversation once and for all.
“I just want there to be no debate when I’m done,” Jones said. “I do feel like I’ve had a great light heavyweight career. I’m by far the greatest light heavyweight. And in my heart, I do feel like I’m the best fighter in this sport’s history. But I just don’t want there to be any debate. And one way I can do that is by capturing this heavyweight crown, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Izzy on getting his purple belt.
Every word was facts ✨— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) December 9, 2020
Thank you @AtosJiuJitsuHQ
Thank you @Galvaobjj
It’s hard to watch this clip for me without going through the same emotions...I was caught off guard and left speechless.
I’ve been at this a minute.
No lie was spoken... #whitebeltforlife pic.twitter.com/RsPeD8Rlpo
Darren “Un” Til tweeted and moved up 2 slots in the rankings . ♂️ @darrentill2— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 9, 2020
I’m a huge fan!! You’re the mini champ!— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) December 7, 2020
But it seems like I’m your only fan because the purses I buy my girlfriend are worth more than your fight purses
where your PPV #’s at champ? https://t.co/S3cdXDXThx
Or....Your PPV #’s? Everyone ordered that fight for TYSON...nobody even knew your were fighting Smokey Robinson on the undercard. BTW, looting purses from the mall doesn’t count as buying. https://t.co/Prcugzhcl9— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 8, 2020
I’ll give you props.... @jakepaul While I was collecting Gold Medals and UFC belts, you were collecting followers. That’s nice. They can all follow you to the hospital after I break your face. pic.twitter.com/h2jpyUjXEx— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) December 8, 2020
The Funky Family.
Apparently citric acid being the fourth ingredient in @MonsterEnergy means that you probably shouldn’t mix it in with your cereal and milk... found that one out the hard way— Chase Hooper (@chase_hooper) December 9, 2020
Now that’s just great marketing.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
If Jon Jones wins the heavyweight title is he the GOAT?
This poll is closed
He already is the GOAT.