MMA Ratings Podcast

February 17, 2020

UFC Rio Rancho: Now's the Time To Give Jan Blachowicz the Jon Jones Fight

By Adam Martin

After UFC 247, the UFC light heavyweight title picture was very much up in the air. Many felt that Dominick Reyes should have earned a decision over Jon Jones to capture the UFC light heavyweight title, but the judges felt differently. The calls for an immediate rematch were loud and passionate, but two fighters had the opportunity to throw a wrench into things. Those were the headliners of UFC Rio Rancho, Corey Anderson, and Jan Blachowicz.

The common thought heading into UFC Rio Rancho was that if either Anderson or Blachowicz put on an impressive performance, he could jump ahead in the title talks past Reyes. A decision probably wouldn't be enough to do it, but a highlight-reel knockout would be. Well, that's exactly what happened as Blachowicz stopped Anderson in devastating fashion in the first round. Jones was live cageside and Blachowicz immediately called out the champ and his belt.

Jones seemed interested in fighting Blachowicz, telling reporters post-fight that he is healthy already after the war with Reyes and ready to fight. He said that he wouldn't be surprised if the UFC matchmakers are interested in booking him against Blachowicz. That's music to the ears of Blachowicz, who has been grinding as he's moved his way up the 205-pound ladder. Reyes, of course, wasn't happy about what Jones said, as he still believes he should get the immediate rematch.

At this point, it's hard to say for sure what the UFC will do. On one hand, the calls for a rematch pitting Jones against Reyes won't get any louder. The UFC blew it years ago when they didn't immediately book Jones against Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch and when we saw the rematch years later, it didn't live up to the hype. The UFC may learn from their mistake and decide they want to strike while the iron is hot by giving Reyes another crack at taking the belt from Jones.

On the other hand, the same could be said for striking while the iron is hot with Blachowicz. While Reyes is still only 30, Blachowicz is 36. He probably won't be any hotter than he is right now. It might be smart to give the older Blachowicz the title shot now, as it seems unlikely he will come anywhere near to getting another shot at the belt in the future, considering his age. It also makes sense for the UFC to give Blachowicz the title shot while he's at the height of his popularity.

If I'm the UFC, this is what I do. I give Blachowicz the title shot against Jones at International Fight Week this July in Las Vegas. In the co-main event would be Kamaru Usman against Jorge Masvidal for the UFC welterweight title. And on the undercard I would book Reyes against Thiago Santos, who himself came very close to beating Jones last summer at UFC 239. The winner of Reyes vs. Santos would fight the winner of Blachowicz vs. Jones later this year for the belt.

Personally, I'd still like to see Jon Jones move up to heavyweight for a superfight against Stipe Miocic, but he seems locked into defending his light heavyweight title. If that's the case, then I want to see Jones against Jan Blachowicz next. Reyes and Santos both arguably should have beaten Jones, but they didn't. Unfortunately, the sport isn't fair, and both men will have to earn another shot at the belt. So, do Reyes vs. Santos on the same card this summer and set up the next title fight. It would be perfect.

UFC Rio Rancho
Corey Anderson vs. Jan Błachowicz: Jan Blachowicz def. Corey Anderson via KO (punch) at 3:18 of Round 1.

UFC Fight Night Rio Rancho: Anderson vs. Blachowicz took place February 15, 2020 at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Click HERE for more UFC Rio Rancho Post-Fight Analysis

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