MMA Ratings Podcast

August 17, 2020

Striking While The Iron Is Hot: Stipe Miocic vs. Jon Jones Should Be Next

By Adam Martin

In one of the most complete performances of his incredible UFC career, Stipe Miocic was able to outlast Daniel Cormier in their UFC heavyweight title trilogy fight at UFC 252. The third fight between the two lived up to the hype as both legends of the sport battled it out for the full 25 minutes, with Miocic ultimately emerging as the winner via unanimous decision. The win over Cormier confirms that Miocic is the consensus UFC heavyweight GOAT, but he can still add on to his legacy with a couple of key fights. Namely, a matchup against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. A true MMA superfight.

Most expect the UFC to do the rematch between Miocic and Francis Ngannou next, and UFC President Dana White has confirmed that's the plan. But I hope White reconsiders and goes with the Jones fight instead. Don't get me wrong, Ngannou is an amazing fighter and he deserves to fight for the heavyweight title. After all, he's won four straight fights by knockout. The thought of him having to wait any longer for a title shot sucks because he has earned it. But after seeing Jones take to social media and call out Miocic for a fight that would determine both fighters' legacies in the greatest of all time discussions, I think the UFC needs to strike while the iron is hot and book Jones vs. Miocic instead.
Jones, one of the biggest stars the UFC has, is sitting on the shelf right now without an opponent. Sure, the UFC can book him against either Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz in another title defense, and yes, both of those fights are dangerous. But there's a reason that Jones himself was chasing a superfight against Ngannou a few months ago. If he is serious about moving up to heavyweight and challenging the best -- and it seems like he is -- right now Miocic is the best there is. If Jones wants to fight at heavyweight, he might as well throw himself in the fire and fight for the belt right away. There is no point of Jones being introduced to heavyweight. He just needs to be given the title fight right away.

Jones vs. Miocic would be an absolutely massive fight for the UFC, pitting two of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport against each other. The winner of this bout would have a claim to being called the greatest MMA fighter of all time. Both guys have had long careers, and who knows when both guys are going to hang them up. Right now both men are free and open, and as much as I love Ngannou, I don't think he should stand in the way of Miocic fighting Jones. The Jones fight is the one that is going to get the most eyeballs on it, so when it really comes down to it for the UFC, it's the one to make next. I just feel like the opportunity to make fights like this doesn't come up often, and the UFC needs to pounce on it.
Jones is only going to be lured back to the Octagon with big fights, and this qualifies as a big fight. Realistically, both Miocic and Jones may only have a few more fights left in their UFC Hall of Famer careers. Both men can fight for as long as they want to, but both have spoken openly about retirement in the past. Jones, in fact, is essentially retired right now, but I believe he could be tempted back with the prospect of a big fight. Whether that be a trilogy with DC, a fight against Miocic, or even Ngannou, I think we are going to see Jones move up to heavyweight for his next fight. It seems like he wants to test himself, and what better guy to test himself against than the best in the division in Miocic?

If the UFC goes with Francis Ngannou for Stipe Miocic next, I would understand why they are doing it. After all, Ngannou has been patiently waiting for the Miocic vs. Cormier trilogy to play out, and he has earned his right to fight for the belt. But sometimes these big fight opportunities come up and you have to strike while the iron is hot. I believe we are potentially seeing that with Jon Jones jumping in the mix now. The odds are that Dana White will do what he says and give Ngannou his promised title shot. But the allure of the riches of a Jones vs. Miocic fight and what it would mean to these fighters' legacies could be just the right mix for the UFC to reverse course and put into motion what could be the biggest MMA fight of all time.

UFC 252
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier (UFC Heavyweight Championship): Stipe Miocic def. Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).

UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 (formerly UFC 252) was due to take place July 11, 2020 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled/relocated to August 15, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC 252 Analysis

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