With UFC Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones recent standout performance over Rashad Evans, and the announcement that Jones would meet veteran Dan Henderson in his next title defense, Jones would seem to have cleaned out his weight class, having beaten all of the other major contenders. There has even been speculation that Jones should move up to fight in the Heavyweight division. It is an interesting theory, and with what are likely to be huge opening lines for this title defense with Henderson, we are likely to hear a call for Jones to move up a weight class after the fight as well. But is it a good idea?
Once upon a time, the UFC had no weight classes. Then they instituted 205 lbs as the split between 2 weight classes, with under 170 lb joining the two later to add a third weight class.
Among the reasons for the limit to be set at 205 lbs, and not say, 200, was that several of the big names on their roster at the time found 205 lbs to be about the limit of where they can reach in cutting weight. One name in particular that that fits this mold was Tito Ortiz.
There was even talk of Tito fighting above 205 lbs. After all, he was massive and he was looking for challenges. But he never did it.
Randy Couture went back and forth between the divisions successfully, holding title in both weight classes in his career, and Jones could probably do the same.
The bottom line is that the UFC needs to bring in some talent to challenge Jones. As a nemesis to Couture and to Ortiz, they developed Chuck Lidell into a contender and then a champion. They need to figure out a way to find challenges for Jones at Lightheavyweight. If Jones were to move up in weight class, it would leave all his retreads in the lightheavyweight division, effectively watering down one of their marquee weight classes.
And Jones would likely do fine against many of the heavyweight division, but he does run the risk of falling into the middle of the pack. Jones right now is writing a new history of dominance in the Lightheavyweight division, that should be allowed to play itself out. Jones is still only 25 years old, the idea of moving to Heavyweight could easily wait 5 years, and it should!