Jon Jones Isn’t Wasting Time Getting Back Into Action… He’s Set to Defend His Light-Heavyweight Strap Against Rising Contender Anthony Smith… A Win For ‘Bones’ Will Effectively Clear Out the Division…
If anybody doubted just how good Jon Jones is at fighting, they would surely have been silenced by his clinical display against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 last month. Both men were returning after lengthy hiatuses, and despite all the controversy surrounding him, Jones demonstrated brutal efficiency as he ruthlessly dispatched his Swedish opponent.
Historically light-heavyweight has been one of the thinnest divisions in the UFC and that remains the case today. One of the biggest questions after the event was who would Jones fight next, with Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar two of the most exciting names mentioned.
Now though it has been confirmed that Jones will instead have a chance to clear out the division, as he is set to take on Anthony Smith at UFC 235. ‘Lionheart’ had an outstanding 2018 after moving up to 205, and will look to shock the world against a man widely perceived by many to be the best ever.
Dana White confirmed to TMZ that this fight is being targeted for March 2 in the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. So you should probably book your flights and transport to the Forum in Inglewood, California. The Nevada Athletic Commission refused to licence Jones to fight after a small percentage of picograms of turinabol were discovered in his system.
The UFC president has said that he would be ‘shocked’ if the NAC doesn’t clear Jones to fight in the future. With Las Vegas the headquarters of the UFC, you can understand their desire to have ‘Bones’ make his return to Sin City, but it remains to be seen whether or not drama is on the horizon.
For Smith, this is a massive chance to shock the world. Last week Amanda Nunes showed MMA fans that everybody’s time comes, no matter how invincible they seem, when she knocked out Cris Cyborg. Smith famously started off 2018 with a TKO loss to Thiago Santos at middleweight but has gone on a three fight knockout streak since moving up a weight class.
‘Lionheart’ is a very big guy and now that he’s not depleting himself he looks a different fighter. He took out MMA royalty in Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans. Then, even more impressively, he came through adversity to take out Volkan Oezdemir by rear-naked choke last October. Naturally, Smith is confident. He told MMA Junkie:
“I’m the only one that has legit finishing abilities against Jon Jones. I’m the only one that can physically match up with him.”
This fight is also a big deal because it shows that Daniel Cormier will not be lured back down to 205, after vacating the title. Jones has consistently called out ‘DC’ since his return, but the former double champion will not be baited into fighting his arch-nemesis again unless it’s at heavyweight.
If Jones beats Smith, then it will be fascinating to see what happens next in his career. Light-heavyweight will basically be cleared out. He might have no choice but to step up with the big boys by the end of the year. Jon Jones to heavyweight in 2019 might not be a bad bet!