Jon Jones took out another legendary fighter in Vitor Belfort tonight at UFC 152, the fourth successful defense of his light-heavyweight title, leaving us all wondering who’ll be next to try their luck against him.
Ideally it would be good to see Jones back in the Octagon again soon, but judging by the way he was gingerly holding his arm which had been hyper-extended during a submission attempt from Belfort in the opening round, it could be that we’ve seen Jones for the last time this year.
That would however buy the UFC some time to establish a definite No.1 contender to face him next.
Personally I feel that Dan Henderson still deserves his shot, and that’s perhaps the most interesting fight left for Jones at 205lbs.
However, Dana White threw a spanner in the works recently when he indicated that once ‘Hendo’ is healed up he may have to take another fight, potentially with Lyoto Machida, in what would likely be a title eliminator to establish who faces Jones next.
Jones himself indicated after the fight tonight that he has “unfinished business” with Henderson, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that White will relent and let the former Strikeforce champ face Jones as was originally intended at the ill-fated UFC 151 show.
In fact, at the post-fight presser tonight White said that Jones was close to cleaning out the 205lb division, but that Henderson still stood in his path, so that’s an encouraging sign.
Beyond that, the winner of Alexander Gustafsson Vs Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC On FOX 5 could take on the champion instead if need be.
Gustafsson’s currently on a five-fight winning streak, and if he were to win impressively against ‘Shogun’ then he’d certainly be an interesting ‘dark horse’ contender for the title.
It’s unlikely though, and I suspect we probably will see Jones Vs Henderson go down in early 2013.
Perhaps Machida could face the winner of Gustafsson Vs ‘Shogun’ to produce another title contender after that, but if Jones continues on his current path of destruction it’s not going to be long before there’s going to be calls for him to either have a superfight with Anderson Silva, or move up to the heavyweight division.