With Rashad Evans vs Jon Jones opening up on betting sites at +375 Evans to -525 Jones, it’s obvious that most people don’t think Rashad is the one who’s gonna unseat our new Awesome Champion of Total Awesomeness. But if not him, then who? Let’s take a look at some possibilities:
Quinton Jackson: One thing many analysts said coming into the fight with Shogun was that Jon Jones hasn’t been smashed in the face really hard during a fight. Rua didn’t manage it, but Quinton Jackson might be able to. Sure, Jones has the tools to keep Jackson off his feet for the entire fight. But he had that with Shogun too and decided he was going to keep it on the feet a little then. That kind of decision can end with a one punch knockout when fighting someone like Rampage.
Anderson Silva: If GSP is too concerned about his legacy to challenge Anderson Silva, maybe Silva will decide to make his superfight bucks off Jon Jones instead. Sure, Dana White just said Andy doesn’t want to fight at 205 any more. But I’m sure tepid matchups against Yushin Okami and best-of-the-rests like Michael Bisping will eventually bore him into taking that fight once Jones has become an attractive enough target to knock off. Money talks, and the difference between a PPV that sells 500k and one that sells 900k+ is worth several million in Silva’s pocket.
Phil Davis: We can come back and look at this one again after seeing how he does against Lil Nog in Seattle. But if it wasn’t for Jon Jones being the uberhot shit that he is, Davis would be the hot prospect everyone is talking about right now. If he continues to get better and shows he deserves the hype, we could have a very interesting matchup down the line.
Gegard Mousasi: Yes, I know everyone thinks he sucks after that dumbass performance against King Mo. But Mousasi is a stoppage machine with 28 of 30 fights ending via KO or submission. Things may be business as usual with Strikeforce for now, but when the merge / whatever the fuck they use to get SF fighters over happens, we’ll have ourselves an interesting contender indeed. Especially if he trounces Mike Kyle in April and then dethrones Dan Henderson (who by the way is WAY TOO OLD to make it onto this list of Jones opponents).
Moving up: It might very well be that no one at 205 is able to take Jones out. But keep in mind that he’s only 23 years old – the man’s got some more growing to do and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up in the heavyweight division a few years from now. How he’ll do really depends on where he and the heavyweights are at that point and time, but I sure as hell am going to enjoy those epic scraps.