UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones is delaying his move up to the heavyweight division for a little longer than expected.
The 26-year-old, who successfully defended his title for the fifth time at UFC 159, said of the change in weight class, “Oh, eventually. I’m getting older, I’m growing, and I’m getting stronger. Why not? Yeah, for sure.”
In January, Jones said he could make his move to heavyweight as soon as next year.
“I think heavyweight is going to come along around 2014 – maybe even late this year. Who knows. It’ll definitely be a fight for the fans.”
UFC President Dana White said he would like to see the promotion’s youngest champion take on a new challenge.
“If he gets to the point in his career when he wants to move up to heavyweight, I mean, what he accomplished in the first year and a half as a light heavyweight was incredibly impressive,” White said. “The fact that he can move up – I’ve been waiting for Anderson Silva to move up to 205, but he never wanted to do it. I’d like to see it.”
For the time being, Jones has Alexander Gustafsson to deal with at UFC 165 in September. The 26-year-old contender, who holds an 8-1 record in the UFC, is coming off a six-fight win streak. He claimed his most recent victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz in December 2012. Gustafsson called Jones the “greatest test” of his career and said that he was “very motivated” for the fight.
White was also looking forward to the match.
“Jon Jones is re-writing the record book for the light heavyweight division,” White said. “He is one of the pound-for-pound best in the world with a record-tying five straight title defenses by age 25. This bout with Gustafsson is an awesome fight. Alex is a big man plus he’s mean and hungry – and excited for the opportunity to fight Jones.”
After Gustafsson, Jones has relative UFC newcomer Glover Teixeira in his sights. Teixeira made his debut at UFC 146, and has won all four of his fights for the promotion so far. He boasts a MMA record of 21-2, and Jones called a potential match “interesting.”
“He’s a guy on my radar, and that’s a fight that I want,” Jones said.
UFC 165 will take place September 21 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
What do you think of Jon Jones delaying a move up to the heavyweight division?