The light heavyweight division has been rejuvenated with a few veteran fighters moving up and the infusion of some young talent. Although Jon Jones is the champ, keeping the belt might be harder in some future fights, especially after his lackluster performance against an injured Thiago Santos.
So, who gets the next crack at the champ?
I think the fighter that is deserving of the next shot at the champ, and in my opinion the most slept on fighter in the division, is Corey “Overtime” Anderson. Anderson, who is currently ranked #8 in the division, appears to be entering the prime of his career.
Corey won season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter and has amassed a 9-4 record in the UFC; also winning three fights over three current top-10 ranked fighters. He is currently on a three-fight win streak in the division. Anderson has been working on his striking game which would be a compliment to his world class grappling skills.
Hahaha @JonnyBones just make sure you bring your WHOLE family. I want them to be there for your DEthroning. And you know how to use them Twitter fingers make sure you "@" me when you speak on my name… https://t.co/RFhfXsQNCv
— Corey 'Overtime' Anderson (@CoreyA_MMA) July 16, 2019
That maybe the fight we get but if not, the fighter that we should keep an eye on is Johnny Walker.
Walker has basically become a household name in the realms of MMA fans. Although there are some rumblings about a fight between him and Francis Ngannou, I see Walker staying at light heavyweight where he is ranked #12 in the division. After competing on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” he has gone 3-0 in the UFC, with his three wins clocking a grand total of two minutes and 48 seconds; to include a KO victory over Khalil Rountree. Jon Jones has even recognized what Walker has been doing in the UFC stating, “I’d imagine Johnny Walker is going to be in the mix as well” in the media.
Dominick Reyes is another fighter that is highly ranked, #4 in the division that could possibly get a shot.
Reyes is on a 5-fight win streak in the UFC after winning a split decision over Volkan Oezdemir. Although he has only one win versus a top 10 opponent, fans will look at his record campaign for him to get a shot. His performance against Volkan would lead me to think that he must win another high-profile fight before getting a shot.
The most intriguing fighter for the champ would be a third fight with Daniel “DC” Cormier, but this time at heavyweight. Jon has said he wouldn’t fight DC at heavyweight because DC would then gain an advantage over him in the size department. Cormier is also undefeated at heavyweight.
Logically thinking, both men would take this fight if the money is right. This would give Jon a shot at being a Champ Champ (if DC were to beat Stipe Miocic in August) and for DC, allow him to avenge his only professional lost. My personal sentiment is regardless of who you cheer for, this fight should happen. I think the weight class in which the fight is contested could very well dictate the outcome.
The UFC has option for Jones’ next fight, but it depends on the champ and what he wants to do next. UFC fans want him fighting DC at heavyweight, but I am in the minority and think he should clean out the light heavyweight division AGAIN and then move to heavyweight, leaving no doubt who the greatest light heavyweight of all-time is.
At this point in his career, Jones must consider his legacy within MMA when choosing future fights.
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The Scrap’s Lee Brown is a 22-year Air Force Vet, fan of all sports – especially UFC, NFL & NBA, and cohost of Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast. You can follow Lee on Twitter (@Levanstian757) and Instagram (@Va121Lee).