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Jon Jones: What’s Next for the UFC Champion?

By Kevin Nelson

With the recent victory over Mauricio Shogun Rua, Jon Jones, at age 23, becomes one of the fastest rising stars in UFC history.

Although he has looked unbeatable, he is a champion of the strongest division in the UFC. We give a list of hungry contenders and former champions that have the best chance of knocking Jones off his perch.

Rashad Evans

The former light heavyweight champion and former training partner of Jon Jones, in an interview, talked about his relationship with Jackson MMA being over.

The look on his face and tone of voiced represented hurt and anger. All that time being one of the longest serving members of Jackson MMA, he may have felt betrayed over Jones.

All we know is an upset and highly motivated Rashad Evans is going to want to exact revenge and prove that he is the best with a win over Jones. The chances of these two fighting are realistic and it has been announced that the two will meet in Jones next title defense.

Quinton Rampage Jackson

With a recent win over Lyoto Machida, however questionable it may be, there is no denying the fact that Rampage is one of the best in the sport.

The former light heavyweight champion has very good wrestling skills and dynamite in his fists. One of his greatest attributes is his ability to slam opponents. If you don’t believe me, watch his power bomb of Ricardo Arona and you will realize the strength I speak of.

Rampage does not always train as hard as he could and has not showcased his wrestling skills since he defeated Dan Henderson but he still is a threat.

Up next is Matt Hamill.

Lyoto Machida

With victories over BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Mauricio Shogun Rua, Stephen Bonnar, and Thiago Silva, Machida is a fighter most avoid due to his awkward style.

Machida trains in sumo wrestling as well which attributes to his great takedown defense. His unpredictable stand up just might be what can defeat Jones if they were to face each other.

Up next is a match with Randy Couture.

Forrest Griffin

One of the most underrated a fighter who has a well rounded game and very good jujitsu. His only weakness has been his chin and his penchant for brawling.

He has had mixed results since winning the light heavyweight title with losses to Anderson Silva and Evans to go along with wins over Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin. Let’s not forget he does hold victories over Mauricio Shogun Rua, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin.

His chances of facing Jones will depend on whether he keeps winning, but one thing is for sure: Griffin always comes to fight and is capable of pulling off an upset over anybody.

Other contenders

Little Nog, Ryan Bader, Phil Davis, Matt Hamill, Thiago Silva and let’s not forget recently dethroned champ Mauricio Shogun Rua who was fighting for the first time in a year.

If Jones were to remain champ, we could be seeing some tantalizing matchups for years in this division.

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