Plenty of challenges left for Jones at light heavyweight
Jon Jones won again Saturday night, adding to his already historic run in the UFC light heavyweight division. But those believing that "Bones" has somehow closed out his division after his very close and competitive fight against Daniel Cormier in the UFC 182 main event are mistaken.
Whoever you scored the fight for, a close watching of Jones vs. Cormier showed a hard-fought bout with only one decisive round: the fourth, for Jones. The first, second and third rounds ended with Cormier owning a slight edge in total strikes landed in a fight that was fought almost entirely on their feet up to that point.
In the fourth round, Jones rallied and began to win the clinch war for the first time all fight, not with strikes but with great wrestling. Jones took down Cormier repeatedly in the fourth and put his stamp on the round.
The fifth was another close round, with both men taking turns pushing each other. Cormier landed the round's only takedown, a big slam, but Jones got right back to his feet.
As the round ended, Cormier was working for another takedown. Four out of five rounds were very close and could have gone either way.
If Johny Hendricks can fight Robbie Lawler three straight times, Cormier certainly can get another crack at UFC gold soon. However, should Cormier not get an immediate rematch, Jones still has plenty left to face in the 205-pound division.
For starters, the man he should have rematched long ago: Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson touched up and took down Jones for the first three rounds of their 2013 title bout. Gustafsson was on his way to beating Jones for a fourth straight round when the champ landed a big elbow that nearly finished the Swede, and changed the complexion of the bout.
From there, Jones continued to lay it on Gustafsson in the fifth. Many people, including this writer, believed Gustafsson clearly won three out of five rounds.
That said, the champ closed it out like a champion indeed, and came closer to ending the bout than his opponent. Both men went to the hospital following their epic battle.
Gustafsson and Cormier have proven they can fight the champ close for five rounds. And if Anthony Johnson manages to beat Gustafsson next month, he might have the power to give Jones problems as well.
If Jones wants to challenge Cormier's friend and training partner, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, fans would be all for "Bones" adding some meat to his frame and testing himself at heavyweight. "I would fight Cain Velasquez in a heartbeat," Jones said after Saturday's fight.
If not, Jones still has plenty of stiff tests ahead of him at 205. Jones very well could go the rest of his career without losing again, but we've seen that he's far from untouchable in the light heavyweight division.