300-pound UFC fighter Chris Barnett recalls Jon Jones fight as he eyes heavyweight fights with Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic and Ciryl Gane
Jon Jones is closing in on his heavyweight debut with potential fights against Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic and Ciryl Gane seemingly just around the corner.
The former 2x light heavyweight champion has been considering moving up to heavyweight for years and fans have always speculated how he would fare against the baddest men in combat sports.
One man who thinks Jones will be just fine is Chris Barnett (22-7), who also competes in the UFC heavyweight division and has fought with the 205-pound GOAT before.
“I fought Jon Jones when I was 300 pounds and he was still a 205’er. He threw me. He dropped me like I was 130 pounds. I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re different, man. You’re different, man,” Barnett told Sportskeeda MMA.
“It’s going to be interesting that he’s going into the heavyweight division, but now the heavyweight division is, I would say, more athletic. Some of these fights I’ve seen. These guys are moving over there.
“You have Ciryl Gane coming in here with her footwork. Ngannou is there in terms of speed. It’s going to be very interesting, that he jumps into the heavyweight division.
“Honestly, I can’t wait to see him. I hope they get him into the top five soon because there’s no reason for him to come back this way. Stay out there, you’re Well.
Jones hasn’t fought in over two years after defending his lightweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February 2020.
Since then, he has given up the 205-pound belt in a bid to compete at heavyweight in the future. The MMA legend got pumped up for his divisional debut, but that was delayed by a financial dispute with the UFC.
During his absence from the sport, the heavyweight title picture has become seriously messy as current champion Ngannou looks set to leave the UFC at the end of this year.
‘The Predator’ appears to have last fought in the UFC as his current contract ended in January when he picked up a decisive victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.
Due to a championship clause in his contract, Ngannou is tied to promotion for three more fights or a year – whichever comes first. The Cameroonian knockout artist is expected to be out for the rest of his year, after undergoing knee surgery.
A lucrative and career-defining fight with Jones could convince Ngannou to sign a new deal with the UFC, but it seems more likely that ‘Bones’ will make his heavyweight debut against someone else.
Miocic appears to be the favorite given the high regard he enjoys among fight fans. The former champion, who hasn’t fought since being knocked out by Ngannou in March 2021, has claimed an immediate title shot for his comeback bout.
As the most successful heavyweight champion of all time, Miocic could be called upon to face Jones for an interim belt this summer.
Gane is another man who is very relevant in the heavyweight title picture. The French striker fell slightly short in his first shot at UFC gold and nothing about his performance against Ngannou suggested he couldn’t become champion the second time around.