Jon Jones has long toyed with the idea of moving up to the heavyweight division, and that resolve was likely only strengthened when he defeated Daniel Cormier on Saturday night to defend his 205-pound title for the eighth consecutive time.
Prior to his career at light heavyweight, Cormier was arguably the No. 1 contender in the heavyweight division but opted to move down a weight class so he wouldn’t be forced to fight his teammate and current champion, Cain Velasquez.
With Jones beating Cormier in a unanimous decision at UFC 182, he eliminated yet another contender and once again opened up the possibility of moving up a weight class to make a push in the heavyweight division. Considering the current champion is Cormier’s teammate, Jones would gladly accept the challenge with one asterisk attached to the matchup.
Article continues below ...
"I would fight Cain Velasquez in a heartbeat. I really would. I would love to fight AKA’s (American Kickboxing Academy) best athletes and I believe I’d defeat them all. I believe our team’s the best in the world," Jones said during the UFC 182 post fight press conference.
I would fight Cain Velasquez in a heartbeat. I really would. I would love to fight AKA’s best athletes and I believe I’d defeat them all
— Jon Jones
"With that being said my maturity has allowed me to make weight a lot easier. This camp around being three weeks outside of the camp, I started having to force myself to eat more to keep my weight up. I was losing weight too fast. Fighting at heavyweight would be surely to entertain the fights and it would have to be against the perfect opponent."
Velasquez might just be that perfect opponent, but Jones isn’t making any long term plans for a run at the heavyweight division. Jones has gotten more disciplined in his diet and he’s currently in the process of relocating his family from New York to New Mexico so he’s able to train year round instead of just going to his team in Albuquerque for each fight camp.
The additional work will keep Jones in better shape in the offseason, which will likely stop the champion from ever ballooning up in weight too much and keep his cut to 205-pounds as easy as (not eating) pie.
"Making 205 is not a challenge for me at all. It hasn’t been a challenge," Jones said. "For a long time I’ve been accused of being too big for my weight class and I think it’s an excuse of people who don’t understand my success. I’m not too big for the light heavyweight division. I’m built the way I’m built. I have very skinny legs, but I make weight just fine. I’m a true light heavyweight and I will be a light heavyweight for a long time."
The one thing that may force Jones’ hand when it comes to potential super fight at heavyweight with someone like Velasquez is his career goal of being considered the greatest fighter in the history of the sport.
Jones has never been shy when addressing his desire to be the best ever and there may not be a faster way to the top than to take out a heavyweight champion in the prime of his career.
"My plan is to become the greatest fighter of all time. It’s so feasible. It’s so attainable," Jones said. "All I’ve got to do is stay focused and keep believing just the way I believe and to keep working. I do believe 2015 will be the year I solidify it."