Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is feeling new motivation ahead of his debut in the promotion’s perilous heavyweight division.
Jones has not fought since he defended the light heavyweight title with a decision defeat of Dominick Reyes earlier this year. Not long thereafter, he vacated the light heavyweight title with plans to move up to heavyweight.
Speaking to ESPN recently, Jones explained that he’s feeling new motivation as he prepares to fight the biggest, most powerful men in the UFC.
“The light heavyweight division was fun, but I just wasn’t scared of those guys anymore,” Jones said. “Like, none of them. And I think it showed in some of my performances. Obviously, I still trained hard. But there was no urgency in some of my last fights.
“With these next guys I’m going to be going up against, I respect these guys. These guys are intimidating — they’re intimidating as s—. It just gets me up in a whole different way.”
Jones is already regarded as the best light heavyweight fighter in MMA history, and generally, one of the best fighters of all time. Nonetheless, he’s not satisfied with his legacy, and hopes success at heavyweight will cement him as the best ever—period.
“I just want there to be no debate when I’m done,” Jones said. “I do feel like I’ve had a great light heavyweight career, I’m by far the greatest light heavyweight. And in my heart, I do feel like I’m the best fighter in this sport’s history.
“But I just don’t want there to be any debate. And one way I can do that is by capturing this heavyweight crown, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Jones doesn’t yet have an opponent for his heavyweight debut, but could conceivably fight a time contender, or be rushed right into a title fight with the winner of the upcoming rematch between champ Stipe Miocic and challenger Francis Ngannou.
He’s not sure which way things will shake out but seems open to all possibilities.
“I go back and forth,” Jones said. “Sometimes I think I should take like a top-10 guy [at heavyweight] and just get my feet wet, figure out what’s happening. And then the other times, I think, ‘F— it. Let’s just go big or go home.’ I’m trying to get these big-money fights these days. I like taking care of everybody around me.”
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