Now that he’s established as the UFC’s reigning king at 205 pounds with Jones out of action for the past 19 months, Blachowicz—currently No. 1 in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings—and the light heavyweight division have officially moved on without him.
For all the ways Jones was the most dominant champion the weight class had ever known, his decision to relinquish the title and move to heavyweight was enough for the UFC to immediately crown a new champion.
In fact, as Blachowicz prepares to embark on his second consecutive title defense just weeks after his one-year anniversary as UFC champion, he’s no longer concerning himself with Jones or the shadow he once cast over the light heavyweight division.
“I think Jon Jones, this conversation is over,” Blachowicz told MMA Fighting when asked about Jones ahead of his return at UFC 267 on Oct. 30. “It’s not making sense to talk about him anymore. I don’t know. Maybe he don’t fight anymore, anywhere at heavyweight or light heavyweight, I don’t think so.
“I don’t know what he’ll do. I forgot about him. You remind me about Jon Jones right now.”
Of course, Blachowicz isn’t the only person wondering whether or not Jones will be returning to the cage any time soon—if ever again—as his contract dispute with the UFC was never satisfied.
After Jones dropped the 205-pound belt with the intention of moving up to heavyweight, he continued to stay at odds with the UFC over a new contract that essentially left him on the outside looking in where the title was concerned.
While reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has said numerous times that he would love to welcome Jones to the division, he’s currently preparing for a showdown against interim title holder Ciryl Gane. Add to that, former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic has been clamoring for a third fight against Ngannou after they split two previous meetings, which means Jones could get stuck behind both of them where the title is concerned.
Meanwhile at light heavyweight, Blachowicz is getting ready to face Teixeira with human highlight reel Jiri Prochazka waiting in the wings to likely face the winner of the UFC 267 main event. Both of those fights come after Blachowicz vanquished Dominick Reyes, who took Jones to the brink of defeat in their title bout in early 2020, and earned a win over UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
That all adds up to Blachowicz doing more than enough to establish himself as champion as the division moves beyond the Jon Jones era.
“A half year ago, it would be a different way — ‘I have to beat him, I’ll find him somewhere and beat him,’” Blachowicz said about his previous desire to face Jones. “Like I said before but right now I don’t care about him. If he comes back, OK. If not, who cares.”
As for the rest of the light heavyweight division, Blachowicz is excited to see the long list of contenders starting to form a line behind him as champion.
While Teixeira is next, the Polish powerhouse has kept a close eye on Prochazka as he earned a pair of jaw-dropping wins in his first two fights in the UFC while Aleksandar Rakic is quietly creeping into the title conversation as well.
“It’s good,” Blachowicz said about 205-pound weight class. “A lot of good guys, young guys, everyone wants to beat you. So it’s good. [Magomed] Ankalaev, he will be fighting in this same event as me. So he is also a very good fighter. I’m excited.
“Like I said before, they motivate me to go to the gym and train really hard. Because they are good so I have to be in shape all the time. Everybody is different. Different style, different kind of moves, different size, so it’s amazing how our division looks right now.”
If Jones does eventually make his return with his sights set on heavyweight, there’s always a chance he’ll cross paths with Blachowicz there in the future as well.
According to Blachowicz, he’s got a lot of time left in his career and while he’s only thinking about Teixeira and defending his title on Oct. 30, he might be open to testing the waters at heavyweight one day in the future.
“Maybe I’ve got some fights at heavyweight in the future. We will see what happens,” Blachowicz said. “If I go to heavyweight, I would like to be the champion in heavyweight also. I would not going there just for money.
“If I start doing something, I want to be the best in that. We will see what is going to happen. Right now my mind is set on Glover and that’s it.”