RIO DE JANEIRO — Jon Jones has never truly lost as a professional MMA fighter and reigns supreme as the best light heavyweight fighter in the world. While many wonder if he would still be as dominant if he moved up to heavyweight, a former UFC champion believes he would do just fine.
For Junior dos Santos, a former UFC king who has wins over the likes of Cain Velasquez, Stipe Miocic, Mark Hunt, Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum and many others, Jones “could do very well” if he decides to move up in weight one day in the future.
“Jon Jones is the No. 1 baddest guy on the planet… actually, he’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world, so I think he could do very well in the heavyweight division,” dos Santos told MMA Fighting. “It’s kind of different. Not many different things, but more power on the punches, more power on the grappling, in everything.”
Jones is coming off a close split decision win over dos Santos’ teammate Thiago Santos, a fight that “Cigano” thinks showed “a lot of other things about Jon Jones.”
“His last fight with ‘Marreta’ he did good, but Marreta did very, very good,” dos Santos said. “I think he can decide to make this move because it’s gonna be good for the heavyweight division too to have him here.”
Dos Santos was happy for his friend’s performance on July 6th in Las Vegas, but doesn’t feel “Marreta” did enough to win the title in the main event of UFC 239.
“I would say we couldn’t take the belt away from him,” dos Santos said. “You know, when you’re fighting for the title you have to make it clear that you won the title. It’s hard to say, man, because Marreta did so well. I was so happy for him. But it’s hard to say.
“What I’m gonna say right now is this: you need to do a little bit more than the normal, you have to make sure you won the fight to have the belt. So let’s go for the next one. I know that Marreta is gonna come back much, much stronger from this fight. Man, I have no doubts he’s gonna become the champion at some point.”
It remains to be seen if “Bones” Jones will really move up to heavyweight one day. However, there’s another 205-pound titleholder out there who found huge success fighting among heavier competition over in Bellator.
Ryan Bader entered a heavyweight tournament after winning and defending the light heavyweight gold and was flawless against Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko to capture the vacant championship.
“Darth” Bader was dominating his last bout, a heavyweight clash with Cheick Kongo on Sept. 7, before an unintentional eye poke resulted in a no contest in the opening round. Prior to the fight, Bellator president Scott Coker said he believes the two-division champion is “the best heavyweight fighter on the planet.”
“I disagree,” dos Santos said. “I think Ryan Bader is a great fighter, but I disagree that he’s the best. He’s not the best, (Stipe) Miocic is the best right now. But, yeah, Ryan Bader is a guy who has knockout power, he has some grappling skills too, he always puts on a good show, but he’s a little far from being the best heavyweight.”