Can the UFC survive life after Bones?

Written by: Kenny West

Jon “Bones” Jones, the most infamous figure in the UFC’s Light heavyweight division is being set to return against 205 pound champ Daniel “DC” Cormier at UFC 214 in Anaheim. However, the source of Bones’ infamy isn’t his stellar resume of victories with legendary names like Quinton Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort and even the current champion DC. It isn’t his arsenal of rangy kicks, stifling Greco Roman wrestling or blistering knees and elbows.

No, the source of Jon’s current infamy lies outside the octagon. Jones is making his return after serving a one year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance the last time he and DC were set to meet. Frustrated fans have waited through 2016 and with DC spending much of it in the announcer’s booth, interest in their feud has not waned at all. Looking ahead to this summer, how devastating would it be to lose Jones again to non-fighting issues? Does the UFC even need him at this point considering his volatility?

Some would say they need him back badly. Jon Jones is a bonafide legend and whether you love or hate him nobody has witnessed him being defeated in the Octagon. That alone draws numbers. DC vs Bones 2 is the biggest headline fight the division can still ask for. If Jones were to best DC again Dana White and company can easily schedule a rematch to the closely contested Jones vs Gustafsson fight or even a rematch with Shogun Rua.

Others would say they don’t need him badly at all. The UFC’s 205 division used to be one of the deepest divisions of all time housing a murderers row of legends like Rampage, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans simultaneously. Today’s 205 is a very different story. Light heavyweight has been purgatory for journeyman and gatekeeper fighters and a wasteland devoid of new talent. The division today needs time to grow and the idea of having Jones and DC both tearing apart those rankings doesn’t bode well. Another long absence for Jon and another year in the press booth for DC could be the break 205 needs.

By the time of Jon’s first long absence the UFC’s 205 had already been cleaned out Jones himself. When the division gets that thin we start getting groan inducing match ups like Jones vs Sonnen that makes fans start to ponder a move for Bones to heavyweight. 205 needs guys with momentum like Jimi Manuwa to create more interesting match ups and prevent the possibility of seeing a bunch of rematches nobody asks for like OSP vs Jones 2 or Jones vs Teixeria 2.

Jon Jones is a future hall of famer and the world of Mixed Martial Arts would be all the better if he were in the Octagon. However the UFC is resilient and constantly evolving with or without him. Whether he continues adding accolades to his legendary career depends solely on Jon however with his track record MMA fans look toward summer 2017 with bated breath.

Author: FTESWL

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