UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones will move to heavyweight, but he might not do it as soon as expected.
“Oh, eventually,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Tuesday. “I’m getting older, I’m growing, and I’m getting stronger. Why not? Yeah, for sure.”
Jones was responding to a question of whether his plans had changed given his previous statements about a move upward. His dominance of the light heavyweight division has prompted questions about a move up to heavyweight, and the 26-year-old and his camp have spoken several times about the possibility.
In January, he said it could happen as soon as 2014.
“I think heavyweight is going to come along around 2014 – maybe even late this year,” Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) said. “Who knows. It’ll definitely be a fight for the fans.”
Three months later, he said he planned to target superfights and heavyweight fights after breaking UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz‘s record of five successful UFC light-heavyweight title defenses.
Jones, however, was a lot more tentative at a pair of press conferences this week in Los Angeles and New York as part of the UFC’s current “World Tour” promoting its fall and winter pay-per-view schedule.
“Look at this guy next to me?” he said, turning to UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez, who was hyping his upcoming rubber match with ex-champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 166. “Would you guys fight him? I don’t know, guys. I don’t know.”
But really, he just didn’t want to come off like a jerk.
“I just said that because Cain’s next to me,” Jones said with a smile. “I didn’t want it to be awkward.”
Jones is next scheduled to defend his title against Alexander Gustafsson (14-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at UFC 165, which takes place Sept. 21 in Toronto.
If Jones is able to break Ortiz’s record at the pay-per-view event, it would appear to be a perfect segue into the big-man division. UFC President Dana White said challenges remain before the fighter can be considered to have cleared out the division. But he said he would like to see Jones eventually take on a new challenge.
“If he gets to the point in his career when he wants to move up to heavyweight, I mean, what he accomplished in the first year and a half as a light heavyweight was incredibly impressive,” he said. “The fact that he can move up – I’ve been waiting for Anderson Silva to move up to 205, but he never wanted to do it. I’d like to see it.”
Whether he’s just being nice or seriously considering the idea of lingering longer at light heavyweight, Jones did express interest in one hot prospect in the division: Glover Teixeira (21-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who’s won four straight to put himself in the conversation for a title shot.
“He’s a guy on my radar, and that’s a fight that I want,” Jones said.
So there might be more work to do, after all.
For the latest on UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.