1. Volkan Oezdemir
This man is by far the least known and yet most dangerous opponent Jon Jones could face right now. Calling out Brock Lesner for the big pay day makes sense. Oezdemir has plans of his own, calling out Alexander Gustafsson for the undisputed best fighter across the pond. This is a brilliant move since Oezdemir has little to no main event drawing power. Sure he put away three ranked opponents out of nowhere in 2017, beginning with Ovince St. Preux, then Misha Cirkunov, and finally Jimi Manuwa. But it does not mean he is a main stream drawing power, even though his third place ranking in the division was justly earned. If Jones fights this man, he is easily facing one of if not the toughest striker he’s faced yet. Losing to someone as new to the division as Oezdemir should be the last thing on his list, but what we have grown to love about the sport of MMA, is that anything is possible on any given fight night.
2. Alexander Gustafsson
The first guy to steal legitimate rounds from Jones in a fight was this man. An argument for Lyoto Machida taking a round or two exists but no one has an argument of possibly having won, until Gus. Recently the Swedish super star has clawed back in to title contention with an incredible knockout performance against Glover Teixeira. The way he moved away from shots, delivering uppercuts of his own to put Teixeira away in the fifth round, really made a statement to the division and Jones that regardless of losing to Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier, he is still one of the most dangerous threats to the 205 belt and now Jones’s legacy. He threatened before and best believe he will threaten again.
3. Brock Lesnar
Funny listing this WWE superstar’s name on any MMA list these days, much less one that involves the pound-for-pound undisputed light heavyweight champ. But is it so unlikely of a thing? Jones did call out Lesnar, to begin with. Secondly, Jones has been contemplating moving up to heavyweight for a while now. In calling out Lesnar recently at UFC 214, he referenced being 40lbs less than the former UFC heavyweight champ. I would venture further and say it was closer to a 60 to 80lb natural weight difference. Lesnar has claimed in the past to walk around 300. Jones may be around 230 to 250. That’s a big weight discrepancy against a man who is known for taking down fighters his size and holding them there until they break or the fight ends. Not saying it would go that way, but this is a serious challenge for Jones if he decides to take it.
4. Daniel Cormier
Now I know DC just lost his belt and the second waltz in the Octagon with Bones Jones, but it is not unrealistic to think he will simply keep defeating the rest of the talent in the light-heavyweight division like he has done so for years, especially in the absence of Jones if he decides to take on Lesner for a super-fight showdown. No one can stop DC’s ground game assault except for Jones. A third time might be hard to justify after suffering such a brutal loss but the only people who haven’t lost to DC other than Jones, of course, have simply not had the unfortunate task of meeting him in the Octagon as of yet.
5. Anthony Johnson
This man lost to DC twice and retired the last time. He’s on this list because he is a dangerous match up for anyone. Combine that with his lethal striking abilities due to heavy hands and lightning speed and you got someone who is a very interesting matchup for Jones. Of course, he has not come out of retirement or stated any plans of doing so, but then we’ll have to see what happens now that the division is back in business with Jones on top and the rest looking to find a way to dethrone the champ and steal a piece of his legacy. Something no one has been able to accomplish and maybe no one on this list is capable of.
Gabe Keith published his first book, Little Warrior Brother, in June 2017. It draws parallels from his experiences in Iraq with his uncle’s in Vietnam. It can be purchased in print or for electronic download on Amazon.