After scoring “Knockout of the Night” with a first-round TKO of Brandon Vera last month in the main event of the UFC’s Versus debut, rising light heavyweight Jon Jones says he expects to face The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader next, but prefers a matchup with an “established big name fighter”.
“I’m predicting a fight against someone like Ryan Bader, but I really wouldn’t want to fight against Ryan,” Jones recently told MMA Fighting. “I think we’re pretty close to the same spot career-wise. I wouldn’t really want to fight someone who’s in the same category as me. I’d rather fight someone who’s really established, someone with a really big following, someone where there’s a big risk of me losing the fight. I want to try and elevate and make it to the top as fast as possible. I just want a fight with a lot of risk.
“I’m not one to call out anyone. I never call people out. But I’d like to have someone who’s in the top ten, an established big name fighter. Someone like Forrest [Griffin] or [Antonio Rogerio] Nogueira or Rich Franklin. Someone up there in the top five or top 10. Someone where a win would be really huge for my career.
“I feel like I’m at the point where a win over me would be big for someone’s career, no matter who they are. I want to make sure it’s the same for me, where if I win it will be huge for me as well.”
Jones (10-1) began his UFC career with three-straight wins over Andre Gusmao, Stephan Bonnar, and Jake O’Brien, before suffering a controversial disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in December.
Following his victory over Vera, UFC President Dana White said “Bones” would need another year of action, as well as a win over one of the division’s top fighters, before getting a shot at the title.