Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones is already one of the biggest fights the UFC could stage in 2017, but this week may have unearthed the possibility of something even bigger for 2018.
Saturday’s main event at UFC 214 will see former undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world Jon Jones make his long-awaited comeback as he looks to reclaim the title he never lost in the octagon when he takes on old rival (and current champ) Daniel Cormier.
That fight is plenty big enough to pump up MMA fans around the world ahead of this weekend’s event. But a story that has emerged this week will have those same fans positively salivating.
That’s because a fan’s fantasy fight question to Jones on Facebook Live appears to have sparked interest from BOTH fighters in what could potentially be the biggest MMA bout of all time: Jon Jones vs Brock Lesnar.
Responding to the question on the live stream Jones admitted: "I would love to fight Brock Lesnar.
"He’s a massive dude, it would be a massive draw, really big for the sport. It would be a great challenge. That’s a big old boy. I doubt Brock Lesnar would take that fight, though.
"I definitely wouldn’t try to wrestle with him the whole time. I’m not going to tell you what I would do."
Well, that ‘big old boy’ has responded, and it seems he’s down to fight.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Lesnar said: "Would I fight Jon Jones? Anytime, anywhere.
"Right now he should be worried about ‘DC’ on Saturday night."
In terms of a true MMA superfight, it’s just about as big – and as legit – as it gets. A hulking former UFC heavyweight champion and WWE superstar against arguably the most naturally gifted fighter to ever put on a set of four-ounce gloves.
Could it really happen, though?
For those shaking their heads at the possibility, remember this: Mayweather vs McGregor seemed impossible 12 months ago, and look where we are now. That fight is taking place one month from today and will be (from a commercial standpoint, at least) the biggest boxing match of all time.
Jones vs. Lesnar is far more credible as a sporting contest, given Lesnar’s MMA past and his status as a former UFC heavyweight champion. Throw in the fact that Jones has spoken openly about the possibility of moving up to heavyweight in the future, and the fight appears even more viable.
Barriers do exist, however. Lesnar would have to re-enter the USADA testing pool (something he hasn’t done yet, according to UFC’s Jeff Novitzky) and go clean for six straight months of testing before he’s cleared to fight again.
He’d also have to confirm his departure from WWE and negotiate a new deal with the UFC. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that his comments may simply be Lesnar using Jones and the UFC as leverage to improve his WWE deal.
But if both parties really are seriously interested, you can bet the UFC’s owners WME-IMG, plus the UFC’s top brass, would move heaven and earth to make it a reality.
One thing’s for sure, the betting lines for that bout would make for VERY interesting reading.
Earlier today, Jones spoke with BT Sport’s Caroline Pearce, who asked him about a potential matchup with Lesnar.
His response? "I’d do it in a heartbeat, absolutely!"
"I'd fight Lesnar in a heartbeat!"
Jon Jones would relish a super fight with Brock Lesnar! 😮🙌👊
— #UFC214 (@btsportufc) July 26, 2017
Will it happen?
Will Jon Jones face Brock Lesnar in the UFC before July 15th 2018?