Is There Any Real Challenge For Jon Jones At Light-Heavyweight?


Jon Jones‘ victory at UFC 159 over Chael Sonnen was somewhat inevitable. The long time LHW champ cruised through the bout and finished Sonnen with 30 seconds left in round one. The bout didn’t really do anything for Jones’ legacy, but the victories already on his record speak volumes about his talent.

So who is there in the division that can challenge ‘Bones’ in the octagon? Rumours are circling about a possible match against Alexander Gustaffson next, a bout which would probably be a bit closer than Sonnen vs. Jones. I still think that Jones would quite easily beat Gustaffson though. The Champion has just too much for the Swede, longer reach, better wrestling, harder punches, and above all else ‘Bones’ is the supreme athlete.

Dan Henderson might stand a chance of landing the H-Bomb, but with a guy like Jones I think you need way more than a punchers chance. Glover Texeira put on a great fight with Rampage Jackson, but does he have the ability to topple the 205 king? We are yet to see the best Texeira, but something tells me heavy hands and a good chin aren’t going to solve the puzzle.

In my opinion the guy with the best chance of beating Jones is going to have to bring something very fresh to the table. Lyoto Machida showed that elusive footwork and timing was part of solving the mystery. Although he was eventually caught and choked out, the first stanza of their fight showed a lot, to me at least. The way to beat a guy like Jones is going to take someone who can keep out of his range on the feet. There is no point running but keep out of his range just enough that you can catch him coming forward.

Jones proved his wrestling against Sonnen, taking him down at will and smashing him from the top. So fighting against the cage probably won’t go well. I think the plan for anyone trying to topple Jones is to time some counter strikes, and try to jump on an arm if you can stun him for a moment. Easier said than done I know. Yet again even after analyzing it piece by piece, I’m left wondering who is there at 205lb. that could implement that type of game plan?

The truth is I don’t think there is a challenge too great for ‘Bones’ at Light-Heavyweight. That kid is a monster. I would put money on Jones not losing a fight at LHW, but if he ever moves to HW, which I think he will, that is where I feel he will experience his first real loss.


  • Id like to see him fight Lyoto Machida one more time And Alexander Gustafsson after that he should move up.

    • No their is not any real challengers left at LHW, they have been feeding him MW after he cleaned out the division, his real challenges will come at HW, and where he wont be the favorite for the first time.

      • I'd actually wager that he'll still be the betting favorite there against anybody.

        • I couldnt imagine him being the favorite against the top 3. I think maybe even Travis Brown could beat Jones

          • You thinking certain things, and odds are entirely different.

            Jones will most likely be the betting favorite in every fight he enters into until he loses, except possibly Anderson Silva or whoever the HW champ is at the time.

            After Cormier's performance against Mir, its likely Jones would start off a near 2-1 favorite over him.

        • thats crazy! he had lots of trouble taking down rampage and rashad… he will have more trouble taking down cain and junior! and against those guys he doesnt have margin of error… they punch way much stronger than him
          at HW he wont be able to manhandle averyone as hes been doing at LHW. even an in shape Werdum could give him big trouble

          • he could be the champ someday but he needs time to get stronger… unless he eats alistairs horsemeat

          • Daniel Cormier has the tools to beat Jones.

      • Gus is going to kick his ***

    • are you joking lyoto machida lost to shogun twice, i think gustafsson has a little chance of beating jones but i think gegard musasi has the best chance of beating jon jones, gegard hasn't been finished in his entire career and is still young and more athletic.

    • I think Lyoto could do it. He can outstrike Jones for sure. I laughed at how the commentators were saying nobody uses their reach better than Jones. there are quite a few that do a better Job. Anderson, Lyoto obviously has a better game in that area since he was beating Jones with a nearly 1 foot disadvantage. Jones is not an elite striker like Anderson, Machida, Barboza, Aldo, Pettis and some others. He literally has a huge reach advantage and is spontaneous and thats what makes him look great. He is good but not nearly at the level of the others. I say Machida is able to beat him if given another opportunity but I would still make it a tall order because of the size difference and have Machida with a 40% chance to win..

  • I think he could take a holidays for a year tight now, because he destroyed the division, maybe new freak will come in town after a year.
    He is not the only champ with empty division, in my opinion hw is empty too.

  • I don't know Mr. Walking Contradiction, why don't you tell us? You thought Sonnen would beat him, but now he's unbeatable at LHW?

    Pick a side there Mr. Fair Weather Fan.

    • @cagerage64 it was just a gut feeling, didnt mean to offend you 😉 it is clear that jones is an absolute beast.

  • gustafson, mousasi …

    • Uno, Gomi…

    • Mousasi would beat Jones in a kick boxing match but in MMA Jones would GnP Mousasi into oblivion. I'd still like to see it though. If Jones decides to stand with him for a while it could be interesting.

  • Lyoto is the only guy I'd give a chance of beating The Champ. With that said, Rory, how could you leave Belfort out of this article? He's the only guy whose even come close, to beating Jones.

    I agree with you sentiments, though. I think he's pretty much un-beatable @ 205.

  • Lyoto can beat Jones.

  • Too bad Hendo never got the chance. I would've loved to see that fight.

    • I think after having watched him in his last fight, he'd get smashed. As much as I love Hendo, he's too uni-dimensional for the upper echelons of the sport, today.

  • "Is There Any Real Challenge For Jon Jones At Light-Heavyweight?" Who knows he hasn't fought another LHW in like a year.

  • Jones doesnt have many holes in his game he's going to be tough to beat.

    • Their are a lot of holes in his striking. It is sloppy and his defense isn't as tight as his length makes it seem.

      • You are right in some ways. However that makes him great, his unorthodox striking. IF he did his striking right, then, people can start to defend it. BUT, if he stays unorthodox and time his strikes well, he will be too hard to counter.

      • Sloppy striking? He tries unorthodox stuff that doesn't always come off but does it in such a way his opponents are in defense mode throughout. Silva feints a lot to make opponents go into defense mode, Jones uses unorthodox which sometimes looks like his timing is off but is still good enough to dominate, and I mean DOMINATE the LHW division like no other ever has.

        • It isn't just unorthodox. He throws strikes like he is just learning them. He gets away with it because he fights tall, which is a skill. I am not saying he isn't an excellent fighter but he would not get away with a lot of what he does if he wasn't as long.

  • Machida has a good chance and there are new guys fighting in every event. Their is a guy out there somewhere that we just haven't heard of yet who can humiliate Jones. Every guy we think of as borderline invincible was that guy. In Jones' case it wasn't that long ago.

  • Define real challenge first. I think any heavy hitter could get lucky and pull a Matt Serra. Imagine if GSP didn't lose that fight? He'd be on an 8 year, 17 fight win streak.

    But he did lose. And so could Jones. But for his age, Jones is already the greatest MMA fighter ever. It will take someone very special or a fluke to stop him.

    I don't see anyone there at 205. Machida caught him once, then Bones figured out his style and destroyed him. Cormier? I doubt his kidneys would make the cut. Gustafsson probably has the best chance at Lt. Heavy.

    Jones doesn't have many holes in his game, but those "bambi" legs seem the most obvious. The broken toe could be a sign that his lower body is too slight for the stress it is being put under. I think he'll move up to heavy weight by 2014.

    • Um, Jones didn't "figure out" Machida's style. He landed one brutal elbow that Machida didn't recover from. Considering who they have each fought and destroyed you could just as easily say that Jones is the Matt Serra in this story. I would say that they are both incredible fighters and we need to see them fight again.

  • Jones doesn't have the same reach advantage on Gustavsson has he has had on his other opponents. He only has to use some good footwoork to get inside Jones, and not get tagged to badly. Evans did quite well, when he got in but lacked stamina and hand speed. Gustavsson has good hand speed and good boxing. I think Gustavsson has the best chance of taking the title if he goes in and doesn't fall in to Jones game. He needs to get inside Jones and out punch him, and stay on him. Jones best defense is his offensive, if you get passed his offensive he has no defense. Sure Jones has great movement, but I'm pretty sure that when he gets tagged with a good combo, he'll loose his momentum and the control of the fight. Evans could of rocked him if he had unleashed on him when he got in, and kept moving, looking for the angel when he got in. Evans just swung and stepped straight forward. A couple of times he had Jones, but Jones got out because Evans didn't use angels, Jones just took two steps back and he was out of danger. Straight back, and that is the answer to the riddle Jones. Technical brawling with great stamina. And I think Gustavsson can pull that of. But he is a Swede, and they do not have hart or balls. Swedes are the meakest people on earth. So being a Swede is the biggest thing Gus has to overcome. Tack och Hej!