As the UFC signed off on crowning Stipe Miocic as the greatest heavyweight of all-time following his trilogy win over Daniel Cormier last month, the heavyweight title picture was pretty set.
Cormier was too retire, Francis Ngannou was next in line for a title shot following his domination of recent opponents and Curtis Blaydes will fight Derrick Lewis to set up the next shot after that. Or so we all thought.
Then Jon Jones revealed that he had vacated the light heavyweight championship as he was going to move up to heavyweight. After a back-and-forth on social media with the champ Stipe Miocic, Dana White confirmed that while Jones absolutely deserved an immediate title shot in his new weight class he couldn’t jump the queue ahead of Ngannou.
These comments led to Miocic publicly stating that he didn’t want to fight Ngannou, since he already dominated him over 25 minutes in their previous title fight and the match-up “didn’t excite him”. This seemed to open the door for Jones further for a potential bout at the end of the year.
Now though, news has broken that former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is no longer contracted to the WWE. Lesnar left the UFC to return to WWE following a bout with ulcerative diverticulitis, although he briefly returned at UFC 200 to take on Mark Hunt. He won that fight by unanimous decision, although it was overturned to a no-contest following a failed a drugs test after the UFC and USADA agreed to give him an exemption from their rules of entering the testing pool prior to fighting due to the short-notice agreement of the fight.
He was then due to return to the UFC after that incident to take on Daniel Cormier in a super-fight for the title, but a deal never quite worked itself out and Cormier ended up fighting Miocic for a second time.
With news about Lesnar filtering out into the public, Jon Jones was quick to give his thoughts on the whole scene right now – including calling out Brock.
A potential Brock vs Bones fight has been spoken about in the past, with Jones calling him out in his post-fight octagon interview after beating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. That was the first time that a heavyweight move for Jones had been flirted with and it’s now a reality. A super-fight with Lesnar could be the perfect way to welcome Jones to the division. It would allow for the UFC to keep their word and grant Ngannou a title shot against Miocic while Jones would earn the type of money he’s spoken about in the past for a fight against a mega-draw like Brock.
Should he win that fight, as expected, then there would be no question that he is next in line for the heavyweight belt. The winner of Blaydes-Lewis would then face the loser of Miocic-Ngannou, Lesnar would retire win, lose or draw and the division would have some hype and star-power around it once again.
Ngannou believes Miocic is scared to fight him again because he’s got better since their last fight and Cormier agrees with him. The former two division champion confirmed his retirement on his Youtube show with Ariel Helwani and also gave his prediction on the fight and said he believed Ngannou would win via knockout this time around.
There are many different possibilities and for once there are big names vying at the top of the division. The UFC may have a power division worth talking about once again in 6 months time.