Newly crowned Cage Warriors lightweight champion Mason Jones knows that his proximity to the title has become a lot more intimate since he got his hands on the coveted belt, but he believes a victory over a UFC veteran would bolster his chances of securing an Octagon debut.
The highly touted, undefeated Welshman stopped Northern Ireland’s Joe McColgan in the first round of their vacant title clash at Cage Warriors 113 last Friday in Manchester, but he insists that he is already considering what his next step will be.
“I’m always looking at the next step,” Jones told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.
“I’m hoping that I can defend in June. Who that’s against is obviously out of my hands. If they offered my Paddy [Pimblett] I would sign, but obviously I would love an ex-UFC guy, to be honest.”
Jones believes he situation is akin to the last person’s who held the title, Jai Herbert. After seeing Herbert signed to the UFC on the back of a victory over a former UFC fighter, Cain Carrizosa, he thinks he best chances of signing with the UFC lie in beating one a person who has previously fought for the organization.
“It’s the same situation Jai [Herbert] was in when I was coming through. You can fight the next contender or you can fight an ex-UFC guy - obviously you’re going to pick the ex-UFC guy because by the end of this year I want to be in the UFC. That’s my game plan, that’s my goal: to be in the UFC. Whether it’s the end of this year, whether it’s next year, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight because I’ll fight as many times as they can put me on a card. I’ll fight in June, I’ll fight again in September and I’ll fight before the end of the year if I can.”
He also insisted that fighting in Cardiff, Wales as champion is something that he wants to do before taking the next step.
“I have to be looking to the future as well, and I’d love to fight a vet and then get signed. Or I’d love to fight a veteran or a challenger in Cardiff and then go...or whatever happens. It’s just UFC is there [for me] now. I’ve won the belt, I’m happy to defend it, but I do want to start looking for other things,” he said.
Check out Mason Jones’ latest interview on Eurobash. It begins at 1:32:00.