MMA Ratings Podcast

February 10, 2020

UFC 247: Jon Jones Is Slowing Down; Now's the Time To Move Up To Heavyweight

By Adam Martin

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones appears to finally be starting to decline. After being by far the most dominant fighter during the 2010s, never losing once and destroying everyone on his path, Jones is showing signs of slowing down. The greatest MMA fighter of all time is finally starting to look like a mere mortal after a decade of being absolutely unstoppable inside the Octagon.

We started to see signs of Jones decline in 2019 when he fought Thiago Santos at UFC 239. In a fight where the odds were incredibly lopsided in the champ's favor, Jones was pushed to the limit by a former middleweight who no one thought had a chance of dethroning the champ. Instead, Santos nearly defeated Jones despite having two blown-out knees. Jones won a split decision to defend his belt, but many thought that Santos should have gotten his hand raised. The Jones that we saw in the Santos fight was not the Jones that we saw dominate the competition throughout the 2010s.

Clearly, the performance by Jones in the Santos fight was a sign of things to come. In his latest fight this past weekend against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247, Jones was once again the overwhelming favorite to defend his belt once again. But for the second straight fight, Jones struggled with an opponent very few thought would have a chance against him. Reyes controlled the first few rounds of the fight and pushed Jones further than everyone except Santos and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 had. Jones ended up winning a unanimous decision against Reyes, but it was one of the most controversial title fight decisions in years, with many believing Jones should have lost his belt once again.

The question now is what does Jones do next? Does he stay at light heavyweight, where the competition continues to get better and better but the paydays remain the same? Or does Jones move up to heavyweight for a superfight against UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic? It's a question that only Jones and his team can answer, but you already know I side with moving up in weight.

Many will say that Jones should stay at 205 lbs considering how much he's struggled in his last two fights. But that's also a good reason why he should move up in weight. Why risk losing against dangerous but little-known fighters like Santos and Reyes when Jones could move up in weight, make a huge wad of cash, and fight Miocic or his ex-rival Daniel Cormier? If Jones is going to lose sometime soon, then maybe he should at least make a ton of money while doing it. Let's face it, Reyes and Santos are great fighters, as are other light heavyweight contenders like Jan Blachowicz and Corey Anderson, but none of these men are box office draws. Miocic at least is, and a fight between the two, despite the loss of gloss for Jones, should still do big business.

Ultimately it will come down to what Jon Jones and his camp want to do, and I'm sure there are good arguments for him staying at 205lbs. Both options have their potential pros and cons. But at this point, I'd like to see Jones test himself and fight at heavyweight. It looks like the competition is finally catching up at light heavyweight after all these years, and he very well may lose in his next few fights. Might as well lose to a bigger man (and have that excuse), while making a ton of money doing so.

UFC 247
Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship): Jon Jones def. Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).

UFC 247: Jones vs. Reyes took place February 8, 2020 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Click HERE for more UFC 247 Post-Fight Analysis

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