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How long do you believe Jon Jones will stay at light heavyweight? And is there anyone in the division that can dethrone him?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Nothing against the questioner, but I hate the questions where we have to get into the mind of another person and try to guess how they're going to react or act, ya know? The best I can do is to answer what action makes the most sense to me if I were in his place, not that I have any idea how I'd react if I were living someone else's life. So, with that gigantic disclaimer out of the way...
I think Jones would stay at 205 if there were enough legitimate competition for him there. I think he fights Henderson this summer and fights Alexander Gustafsson around the end of 2012, and come 2013 he moves up.
Henderson has a chance to beat him, Gustafsson has a chance to beat him, but those chances are exceedingly slim. If you think Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson had a problem getting inside on Jones, wait until Dan Henderson and his measly 71" reach try to get inside. He might know ahead of time that he has to clinch with Jones, but how is he going to get there? His fight with Jones will feature the biggest reach disadvantage in the history of the UFC, at least modern era UFC. And lest we forget, it's not like Henderson, despite his wrestling background, has the world's best takedown defense. As long as Jones avoids the massive right hand of Dan Henderson, he will have his way with the plodding legend, even more than he did with Evans or Jackson.
As to Gustafsson's chances...
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I'll answer the second question first. No, I don't think anyone in the division can dethrone him right now, but those are the key words. As things stand now, no one is really close to beating Jones. In the future that may change, but Jones is above everyone else right now. As for the first question, I think Jones stays at light heavyweight for at least the next few years. He might dabble in the heavyweight division, but I think that won't be for a few years.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Jon Jones may flirt with other divisions as Anderson Silva did, but I believe he'll stick with light heavyweight. As far as him being dethroned, I believe there is now enough tape on him for someone out there to see what needs to be done to take him out. Dan Henderson has the next shot, and I think he has a good chance. I don't understand why a wrestler like Rashad Evans was afraid of taking Jones down, when in reality, that's your major strength. Henderson should be able to see that. I think Jones will find his match in Henderson.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
How long he remains at light heavyweight is directly linked to how long they can give him legit contenders in his weight class. Next up is Hendo and after that presumably Gustafsson, beyond them who is left that can really hang with Jones? No one. Once he finishes off this year if he still has the title I imagine he will make the leap to heavyweight. I don't know how he will fare against such incredibly huge and talented guys but it will be a fun transition to watch. The only threat to Jones in the division right now is Dan Henderson's right hand, if that doesn't end his reign, nothing will.
MIKE BACIOR, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I would like to think the Jones can become the Anderson Silva of 205. The reality is that he should stay for a long time, but if fights were already decided why get in the cage? Anything can happen and he could last three more months, or three more years.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Jon Jones will stay at light heavyweight as long as the UFC does not pressure him to move up. He will remain the champ at light heavyweight for a long, long time if he is allowed to stay there. He is such a freak of nature, I do not see anyone being able to figure out his length and unorthodox striking and grappling styles in the near future. He could easily move up to heavyweight immediately and challenge for that belt as well.
ALVIN CARTER, MMATORCH SPECIALIST
I think Jon Jones can hold that title until Anderson Silva moves up to take it. The question is will Jones be at heavyweight by the time that becomes more of a reality. Dan Henderson has a chance with his H-Bomb and his wrestling will factor in even if it is just a nullifier. After Jones vs. Henderson, I can only see rematches or someone like Alexander Gustaffson if he can make an impressive leap in competition and win in dominant fashion.
GRIFFIN MARSH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I feel jones should stay in the LHW division. The only man that could dethrone him at LHW is Anderson Silva, but that's a fight we will never see. Both fighters have shown no interest in fighting the other and Jones has openly stated he would love Anderson to be his mentor. Jones has one fight left, a 40+ Hendo who recently walked out of the cage exhausted after winning a very controversial five round decision against Shogun. I'll go ahead and say it. Hendo has no chance at beating Jonny Bones. With Dan's age and cardio I don't see it going past the third. I believe the man that beats Jon at 205 is about 15 right now. After pounding Hendo fans will scream for a move to Heavyweight, which I'm not so sure is a great idea. Heavyweight is a whole new ball game. The reach advantage will diminish, his physicality will be matched by guys like JDS & Cain Velasquez. So in my opinion I think he should stay at LHW, get paid and paid, and then retire the greatest LHW of all time and pound for pound one of the greatest. I just don't see any LHW's beating Jones any time soon.
DAN MOORE, MMATORCH UK CONTRIBUTOR
In just over one calendar year, the guy has beaten four of the most renowned fighters in the entire organization. Some will say Dan Henderson has a slim chance if he's tactically astute, and manages to land a right hander to test Jones ability to take a punch. However I don't believe for one minute that Henderson will actually do just that. I personally wouldn't be adverse to seeing Jones have another fight with Rashad Evans. It wasn't a complete annihilation on Saturday night and the story behind their first fight, adds credibility to the possibility of a rematch. If you give Henderson and Evans the next two fights, it also allows Alexander Gustafsson more time to develop, rather than throw him in, long before he's actually ready. In my world Jones beats Henderson, Evans and Gustafsson by summer 2013, before moving up to Heavyweight in early 2014.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
The goal of all active competitors is to make as much money as they can and to go down as an all-time great. Jon Jones is making tons of money and only stands to make more. With every passing fight, "Bones" Jones seems to take another step towards all-time great light heavyweight status. Why should he make radical changes to a formula that's working so well?
No one can ever imagine a dominant athlete like Jon Jones losing until they do; and then that's all anyone can think about. With Jones reportedly on the cusp of getting major sponsorships from Nike, Coca-Cola and companies like that, he can't afford to lose a fight.
The fact is Jon Jones should batter everyone he can at light heavyweight as many times as he can before moving up to heavyweight. There's a big difference between the greatest light heavyweight of all time finally meeting his match at heavyweight and a flash in the pan 205'er getting smashed trying to step to a heavyweight.
CHRIS PARK, MMATORCH UK SPECIALIST
When Lyoto Machida took the Light Heavyweight Title from Rashad Evans a few years back, it was said we were entering "The Era of The Dragon."
After dominating and then knocking Evans unconscious, without appearing to break sweat, it was difficult to see who from the top five of the division could trouble the Brazilian.
Jon Jones was an up and comer at the time, the long-term hope, and after showing great promise in his first year as a UFC fighter, Jones has since gone from strength to strength rising far above any of his weight class rivals.
The problem the division has now is who can take the title from him? There is no Rory MacDonald, no Michael McDonald, and there is no new Jon Jones on the horizon at 205, so one would be forgiven to think that two routine defences against Dan Henderson and Alexander Gustafsson could be the last two opponents he faces before moving up to challenge the big boys of the UFC.
The cold hard fact is we have seen the meteoric rise, the title win, multiple defences and now we are one fight - maybe two - from seeing the light heavyweight division cleaned out like it never has been before. @MMATorchUK
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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