Will Jon Jones Fight Brock Lesnar?
Jon “Bones” Jones is once again the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion after a stunning third round knockout of former champion Daniel Cormier. How did he celebrate? By shocking the mixed martial arts world by calling out Brock Lesnar. The bizarreness of the move already has some calling it the next Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. However, that might not be a fair comparison.
There are some important differences, differences that could make a Jones vs. Lesnar bout a much more memorable event than the much-hyped Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.
Brock Lesnar’s UFC History
One of the main differences between a Jones vs. Lesnar match — assuming it’s a UFC match — is that it would be billed as a MMA fighter vs. MMA fighter bout rather than a speculative MMA vs boxing fight. It would also mark the second MMA comeback for Brock Lesnar.
In 2008, Lesnar stunned MMA fans by making a convincing leap from “fake” wrestling to a mixed martial arts career. He even held the UFC Heavyweight title after beating Randy Couture at UFC 91.
Despite this accomplishment, Lesnar’s initial stint in the UFC wasn’t exactly pleasant. He was loathed by MMA fans, who resented his seemingly quick rise to the top of the Heavyweight division. Brock Lesnar did himself no favors by flipping off booing fight fans. Even worse, Lesnar suffered from diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder so severe, it required surgery.
Lesnar ultimately lost his title to Alistair Overeem, and in 2011, announced his plans to retire from MMA fighting. The claim proved premature, as Brock Lesnar ended his retirement in 2016 at the landmark UFC 200. He handily defeated Mark Hunt, but in the aftermath, Lesnar found himself at the center of a doping controversy. It seemed Lesnar, who retired a second time, was due to have nothing else to do with the UFC. That is until Jon “Bones” Jones called him out.
Is Jon “Bones” Jones Offering Up Redemption?
If anyone can relate to being a disgraced ex-UFC champion caught up in a doping controversy, it would be Jon Jones. Interestingly, Brock Lesnar’s return to the Octagon only happened because Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 2 fell through. That highly anticipated Summer 2016 bout fell through because Jones tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. This came after Jones was stripped of his title due to a hit-and-run scandal.
The past few years were rough on Jones’ legacy, and after taking responsibility for his poor behavior, the former champion finally got the chance to prove himself at UFC 214. After defeating Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones looked beyond the existing pool of contenders to Brock Lesnar. It’s a move that few would argue they saw coming. Why would Jones call out Lesnar of all people? It might be that as someone who overcame his share of controversies, Jon Jones is offering Brock Lesnar the chance to prove his worth, free of PEDs and the stigma of WWE wrestling.
How This Fight Might Happen
Even if wrestling and MMA fans are excited about this potential bout, there is one major obstacle in the way of it actually happening.
The UFC worked for years to position itself as a legitimate company and the MMA as a respectable sport. The WWE, which routinely scripts its fights, is not taken seriously in the sports world. The UFC might view mixing with the WWE as doing damage to its brand. If so, it might be reluctant to promote a match between one of its brightest stars and a WWE superstar. The WWE seems onboard, as it immediately turned Jones’ statement into a storyline. If the UFC passes on having anything to do with the fight, Jones and Lesnar might face off in a decidedly less tense matchup at a future Wrestlemania.
If the UFC does ultimately go along with the idea of a Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar “super fight,” it’s likely the bout wouldn’t happen until summer 2018 at the earliest.
As with Mayweather vs. McGregor, the fight begins as mere speculation. If the Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar match happens, it would first have to fight its way under the shadow cast by the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. To do that, Jones and Lesnar would have to deliver a UFC bout for the ages. The good news is that both men are capable of doing just that — provided they each manage to steer clear of the unfortunate habit of being controversy-prone.
(Image courtesy of Legendashow via Flickr.)