Contrary to popular belief – or unpopular of late, since we are talking about Jon Jones (Pictured) – the reigning UFC light heavyweight king admits he is far from waxing his division completely clean. While fans have been pushing Jones to jump to the heavyweight class so he can finally challenge himself, the skyrocketing superstar strictly has his sights set on Vitor Belfort.
“In no way have I ‘cleared out’ the division,” Jones admitted during Wednesday’s media workouts. “Everyone’s style is a puzzle for me, and who knows which style I will have the most trouble with. I’m about to fight my fifth straight (former) UFC champion – which I was told is a UFC record – and I’m very proud of fighting the best guy available in each of my fights.
“That’s how you build a legacy in a sport.”
Jones enters UFC 152 as a whopping 14-to-1 odds-on favorite to throttle “The Phenom.” If “Bones” proves the Gambling Gods true, Belfort would fall in line with fellow former title holders Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans, respectively, to fall to the 25-year-old.
Dan Henderson, Phil Davis and Alexander Gustafsson are the only top 10 light heavies Jones hasn’t faced. He would be an overwhelming favorite against all three.
Although Jones is expected to leave Toronto with his 205-pound crown in tow, he knows he must respect Belfort’s bombs, as well as his past accomplishments in the sport of mixed martial arts.
“Vitor Belfort is a UFC original, a real, true legend,” Jones said of his opponent. “He has so much experience at so many different weight classes and I cannot underestimate him. He will have something planned for me, and I’ve prepared to react to anything he does.
“He’s a very powerful striker, but in this situation, I feel I am the more versatile striker in the fight. I won’t shy away from a striking battle just because he has a punch. He’s got a unique style and I enjoy matching up against guys like that. There are so many styles in MMA and, being the champion, you have to face all of them.”
UFC 152 takes place Saturday inside Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The light heavyweight title tilt headlines the pay-per-view broadcast.