Following Jon Jones’ first title defense in his latest run as the UFC’s light-heavyweight champ, there’s going to be a lot of talk about who “Bones” should face next. But, it looks like Dana White already has the champ’s next opponent in mind: Thiago “Marreta” Santos.
Jones faced Anthony Smith last night in the headliner of UFC 235, and he outscored the noted finisher throughout five rounds. The victory followed Jones’ stoppage win over Alexander Gustafsson in December, when he reclaimed the 205 crown.
After the card, White was asked about who could be next for Jones, and the UFC President said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I love the Thiago Santos fight,” White said. “I love that fight. I would love to see him verse Jon Jones.”
“Thiago looks unbelievable at that weight, he’s big, I like his fighting style, and when you put Jon Jones in those type of fights, Jones shines,” White said. “Jones sort of is one of those guys who rises to the level of his opponent. .. I think Thiago Santos is going to be one of those guys who comes in aggressive, moves forward and gives you the kind of fight that you’re used to seeing Jon Jones in.”
Jones, meanwhile, had this to say when he was asked about the possibility of fighting Santos (quote via MMA Junkie):
“Whoever it may be, I’m ready to take them all,” Jones said. “I think all these younger fighters should get their opportunity at a world title. When you’re sitting in my position, its like, who am I to deny people?
“I’m not going to talk ahead too much. I’m going to get with my coaches. We are a close, tight-knit family. This career is not mine, it’s all of ours. We’re going to talk about what we want next, who we want to fight next and just play it like that.”
So, considering Santos has won four straight, is coming off wins over Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, and is ranked #4, giving him a title shot makes sense. After all, Jones holds wins over all the fighters ranked above him.
But, it would likely be a scenario where Jones would be, once again, a heavy, heavy favorite to win. So, it will be interesting to see what kind of buzz the bout generates, if it is indeed booked.
UFC 235 was hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.