Jon Jones vs Anthony Johnson: Is This the Right Move for UFC?
Jon Jones may be avoiding suspensions from USADA, but he may not be stepping into the octagon vs light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier anytime soon.
After Anthony “Rumble” Johnson took care of Glover Teixeira in what seemed like a blink of an eye (13 seconds to be exact) at UFC 202, he has solidified himself again as one of the division’s top fighters. He is now making demands for a title shot. When asked about Jon Jones, Johnson had some choice words for the former champ:
“Daniel wants to fight me, and I want to fight him. As far as Jon, he can sit back and wait. That’s just what it is right now.”
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Rumble deserves a title shot. Since submitting to Daniel Cormier in May of last year, Johnson has put the light heavyweight division on notice. Three knockouts in a total time of just over seven minutes to be exact. Before UFC 202, Glover Teixeira had not lost a match due to punches since 2002.
Anthony Johnson is a scary competitor and deserves a rematch against Cormier, but since this is the UFC, it won’t be that simple.
After the decisive victory last weekend, Dana White seemed impressed, but not enough to give Johnson a clear hint of receiving a title shot. On a recent UFC Unfiltered podcast White seemed to be in a tricky situation:
“I’m in a weird place. We saw the fight, and it was a great fight. I still have to talk to Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) and see what he thinks. But I’m thinking maybe we do Anthony Johnson vs Jon Jones to see who gets Daniel Cormier.”
Now the facts are that Jon Jones has not lost in the octagon, unless you are counting his 2009 disqualification against Matt Hamill. Jones has had trouble, but has never lost his UFC belt due to any man other than himself.
Anthony Johnson, on the other hand is probably the most feared striker in any division and is coming off of three straight knockout victories. Dana White sees this as an opportunity to just have them battle it out inside the cage and have Cormier receive the winner. That way, White doesn’t have to make a tough decision.
Right or Wrong?
This is wrong.
If Dana White and Joe Silva agree to do Jon Jones vs Anthony Johnson, they are pulling the wrong move. This only puts two fighters in a situation where one of them will receive a significant setback by losing this fight. If Anthony Johnson loses, does he get a title shot coming off a loss — after Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier duke it out? Johnson has all this momentum right now, why put him in a situation that is a non-title fight that could set him back for months trying to regain the number one contender spot?
Is there any fighter on the planet that has knocked out a top five contender in a division in 13 seconds and had his next fight not be for the title? Dana White would be putting Johnson in a horrible situation, not only by having him not fight Cormier for the title, but having to defeat Jon Jones in order to receive one.
Jon Jones would also be getting the short end of the stick if this fight was made. He simply does not know what a non-title fight is anymore. Since March of 2011, that is all Jones has fought and prepared for. He is one of the greatest fighters of all-time and should not be subjected to a title-elimination fight.
His last slip up that caused him to sit out of UFC 200 will probably be determined to not be his fault and that he did not take a banned substance. Why should he be punished for something that he will not be suspended for?
This is the champion in many people’s eyes still, and he just won the “interim” title against Ovince St. Pruex. Does this fight mean that he is no longer an interim champ? Is Dana White actually thinking about having Jones and Rumble fight for his “interim” belt?
That would be ridiculous on all levels and the sport would face a lot of mockery. Jon Jones vs Anthony Johnson is the worst way to handle the three-headed monster that sits atop the light heavyweight division. Plain and simple.
Either make Jon Jones “sit back and wait” and schedule Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson — or try and schedule Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones for the fifth time and tell Anthony Johnson that a 13 second knockout was not impressive enough.
Either way, Dana White and Joe Silva have a tough decision and UFC fans around the world are hoping they do not make the wrong one.