At UFC 165, Jon Jones broke the record for most title defenses in the light heavyweight division by beating Alexander Gustafsson. Jones, 19-1 and 13-1 in the UFC, has quite literally wiped out the division.
With the exception of Glover Texeria, Jones has beaten every viable challenger to his title. In his ascension to the top of the division, he has decisively beaten five former champions (Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson and Shogun Rua).
Chael Sonnen and Gustafsson were the only challengers who possibly stood a chance against the champion that were not former champions, but they both fell.
Out of all the challengers Jones has fought, Gustafsson is the only one who came close to beating the champion. He did so by staying in Jones’ face for the entirety of the fight. Now that Jones has felt that kind of pressure, Texeria has only a small chance of beating Jones using the same game plan.
After Texeria, Jones will have no challengers remaining to keep the division interesting, which means a move to the more challenging heavyweight division.
It can easily be said that Jones will be in a different world once he moves up in weight. Will he be pushed directly into a title shot? It’s hard to say, but there are very interesting challenges ahead for him.
Jones will have to compete against the likes of heavy-handed punchers like Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem. He will also encounter explosive wrestlers and grapplers like Cain Velasquez and Josh Barnett. Even if his opponent doesn’t possess better skills than Jones, size alone could factor into the fight (Antonio Silva).
Once Jones gets used to carrying around the extra weight during the fight, the chances of him becoming a two division champ will increase dramatically.
Anthony Cloud is a MMA writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @TheAceCloud.