During an interview with HDNet’s Inside MMA, light heavyweight phenom Jon Jones (11-1) said he will likely face the winner of the upcoming bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ryan Bader which will take place on Sept. 25 at UFC 119 in Indianapolis.
Though Jones’s professional career only spans back to 2008, he’s mowed through the UFC’s mid-level competition thus far, going 5-1 in the Octagon, the only setback a DQ loss to Matt Hamill in a fight where Jones dished out all of the punishment. So, despite his young age and lack of experience, the UFC is running out of options for Jones outside of the division’s elite.
In the Inside MMA interview, Jones said a title shot could come depending on the results and his performance in his next couple of bouts. With his athleticism, wrestling, unorthodox striking, freakish reach advantage and nasty elbows, it may take a fighter the caliber of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Lyoto Machida, or Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to really test Jones.
Nogueira is the much more decorated MMA fighter, with a fairly successful PRIDE stint on his resume, solid boxing skills and of course, a jiu jitsu black belt. However, unheralded Jason Brilz nearly stunned Nogueira at UFC 114 losing a split decision, mainly using his wrestling to take the fight to Nogueira. He can expect more of the same from Bader, but with a lot more strength and athleticism to boot.