(Updated 7/31/2017) After triumphantly taking out one of the bigger figures on the UFC/MMA stage, Jon “Bones” Jones is already turning his sights to an even bigger name. Jones knocked out popular MMA fighter Daniel Cormier in UFC 214 on July 29 then immediately announced a request to square off against legendary fighter Brock Lesnar in a potential “superfight” that could break the box office. While the boxing world is trying to piece together matches featuring a retired boxer and a UFC star, the MMA world is staying true to its roots and still producing entertaining fights that people want to see.
UFC fighting has taken off behind Jones and Conor McGregor, two pillars in the sport. Jones, however, has the better record at 23-1 and has proven to be nearly unbeatable since his entrance into the sport in 2008 with his lone defeat coming from a disqualification. If he can secure a fight against Lesnar, the media attention that the bout would command could push Jones into another tier than just a regular mixed martial arts fighter. Boxing doesn’t have a face anymore, with Floyd Mayweather one foot in and one foot out the ring, setting the stage for Jones to potentially take over as the top competitive fighter in all of professional boxing and MMA.
Mayweather’s fight against McGregor next month should potentially be the boxer’s last and is strongly favored to be another loss on McGregor’s record. Jones, however, is sitting pretty until his next bout, which could be even bigger than his recent fight against Cormier. The world has opened up more and more to UFC since its exception in 1993 and now sees most of its fights broadcasted on pay-per-view, giving its fighters the same national attention that prize fighters normally hold. Jones has picked the perfect time to match his professional trajectory with that of the sport as they both continue to gather steam.
Boxing greats like Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya have been carrying the sport on their proud shoulders for the last decade. With all three fighters dwindling down in their fighting careers, boxing has yet to find any heirs to replace them. However, on the UFC side, Jones, McGregor and Anderson Silva have helped the sport skyrocket into popularity over the last few years, with Jones seizing control as the alpha dog.