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Jon Jones ponders champion vs. champion fight with Alex Pereira, ‘Poatan’ welcomes potential challenge

A potential super fight has piqued the interests of UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones and UFC light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira. Jones proposed the champion vs. champion matchup despite the Tom Aspinall-sized elephant in the room.

“If Alex P became champion of the heavyweight division, would you guys consider him the GOAT?” Jones wrote on Friday. “Being back in the gym has got me thinking differently. That fight after Stipe may be the next biggest move I could possibly make. This killer has already defeated so many champions, and is already considered a legend to millions around the world. The most massive fight the UFC could make. Give Alex a chance to avenge all those great Brazilian champions I’ve defeated.”

“It would be absolutely massive,” Jones continued. “A guy with a chance to be a three-division champion and a GOAT versus the actual GOAT. Same age, different strengths. No one can argue that that would be the biggest fight in MMA history. There’s absolutely no fight that generates a payday like that. Marketing would be insane.”

Pereira was pleasantly surprised by the notion. Pereira is one of mixed martial arts’ fast-rising stars, winning titles in two UFC divisions 24 months into his tenure. The light heavyweight champ expressed his appreciation for Jones’ acknowledgement while doing media in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 301.

“I didn’t really expect to see that this morning,” Pereira told MMA Junkie on Friday. “I know we’ve been doing a very good job. There’s all this hype around me right now. I spoke about going up to heavyweight to fight on this card. I knew it’d catch some eyes eventually. I didn’t expect it to be so fast. But I was very honored and it was a very respectful message, so it was fun.”

The biggest hurdle in booking the super fight would be UFC’s interest. Pereira called for a heavyweight fight at UFC 301 after knocking out Jamahal Hill in the main event of UFC 300. UFC president Dana White shot down the idea, preferring to see the light heavyweight champion stay put. Furthermore, Pereira wants to remain active and Jones still has business with Stipe Miocic whenever he recovers from injury.

“That’s definitely a fight I would love to do,” Pereira said. “For me to move up to heavyweight, I need some time — but not that much time because I’m already a big guy. So if they give me the green light and say, ‘Hey, this fight is happening,’ I’m 100 percent getting ready for it.

“I respect him a lot. We’re both trying to build something. He has an amazing career and has built a lot. I’m building a lot on my career as well. I think we would make for a very entertaining matchup for the fans. If this ends up happening, I believe it’d be fantastic. I would be looking forward to it.”

Interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall is not on board with the proposed super fight. Aspinall has repeatedly called for a title unifier against Jones or a fight with Miocic. It seems Aspinall must wait or occupy his time elsewhere until Jones and Miocic settle matters. Jones dismissed the interest level in Jones vs. Aspinall, downplaying the interim champ as someone who “only matters in the U.K.” and “a contender who won a belt against another contender.” Jones’ dismissiveness towards Aspinall drew a brief reaction from the interim champ.

Jones vs. Miocic was originally scheduled for UFC 295 last November but was scrapped after Jones suffered an injury. Pereira vs. Jiri Prochazka for the vacant light heavyweight title was elevated to the main event and Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich for the interim heavyweight title was added on short notice. 

There is no timeline for the Jones-Miocic fight but the other champions are in talks for fights. Pereira told reporters at UFC 301 fight week that he’s discussing a rematch against Prochazka. Aspinall previously announced he’d be fighting at UFC 304 in Manchester on July 27 but did not reveal who the opponent would be.

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