This weekend at UFC 247, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will fight to defend his title for the 14th time against Dominick Reyes. The 205-pound athletes will collide at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
With a buzz swirling around the MMA community, Jon Jones is questioning why he hasn’t headlined more events outside of the MMA capital, Las Vegas.
“Maybe I need to step outside of Las Vegas and fight in these markets where people don’t see me too often,” Jones said (transcript via MMA Junkie). “I think that’s going to be important. If I can possibly break numbers here in Houston, I can only imagine what would happen if I went to Australia or one of these other countries where they’d never expect to see me. The people would come out and that’s what it’s all about.”
The widely regarded GOAT is confident he could produce big numbers in Australia — even more than UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, who lives in nearby New Zealand.
“He is (a big draw),” Jones said. “I bet I’d be even bigger.”
The middleweight fighter has been baiting Jones by suggesting a future matchup, leaving Jones unimpressed.
“I have no interest in Israel at the end of the day. Anderson Silva was a guy everyone wanted to see me fight. I never wanted to do it because I had so much respect for Anderson. I feel the same way with Izzy, but it’s not coming from a place of respect. My career isn’t based around fighting him. For him to fight me, it would be huge for his resume. For me, I feel like I already have so many legends under my resume. He’s not even a legend.”
Adesanya’s victory over Robert Whittaker cemented his position as one of the most talented fighters on the UFC roster. He is expected to defend his belt against Yoel Romero next, but Jones isn’t convinced by Adesanya.
“We’ve all seen that video of him fighting some Alex guy [Pereira] and catching a clean overhand right. He’s very human to me. He’s not this special guy. I don’t see what everybody else is seeing in him. I think his whole anime stuff and how he’s all antics with his hands and all this crazy stuff. I think that’s kind of entertaining to a certain fan base. For me, it’s like ‘I would slap you. Get out of here, kid.’”
Do you think we’ll ever see Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/7/2020.