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Who’s next?

The big discussion right now is who’s next for Jon Jones. Mike Chia Pet throws around some general ideas:

The UFC could make him wait and take on the winner of one of those bouts, or they could potentially pair him up against Griffin, who is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery but could be ready to return around October. Since Jones’ fight was so quick, he’d likely have no problem fighting again so quickly.

If Couture beats James Toney later this month, a Jones-Couture fight would be intriguing to many as well.

And then Jonathan Snowdon gives us an … interesting proposition: Jon Jones vs Chuck Liddell.

That’s the role of the former champion. I think we all know a truth that Dana White is still denying-Chuck Liddell won’t leave gracefully. He’s going to have to be beaten out of the sport. Why waste that opportunity on a used up Rich Franklin? And why risk your stellar young prospect against a tough unknown like Silva?

Top prospect and has-been champion. It’s a proven matchup, one that has turned promising young boxing stars into box office attractions.

Of course Dana would have to be an unconscionable monster to put that fight on, but only because he’s good buds with Chuck Liddell. Snowden is right that many an old legend has been been fed to the wolves in a passing of the torch / smashing in of the face ritual nearly as old as the sport itself. But he doesn’t factor in the fact that destroying has-beens doesn’t translate into star power like it used to. We all know where Chuck Liddell sits now, that’s why Liddell vs Franklin was met with a sigh and a roll of the eyes instead of any serious excitement.

But one thing is for sure: there’s surprisingly little floating around for Jon Jones to do in the 205 division. Let’s run down the top 10 list:

  1. Shogun Rua: Out until next summer
  2. Lyoto Machida: Fighting Rampage in November
  3. Rashad Evans: Sitting on the sidelines like a bitch until Summer
  4. Rampage Jackson: Fighting Lyoto in November
  5. Thiago Silva: Has a jacked up back, out indefinitely
  6. Forrest Griffin: Back in October, but seriously? Seriously!
  7. Rich Franklin: Could be back by December
  8. Lil Nog: Fighting Bader in September
  9. Randy Couture: Fighting Toney in August
  10. Ryan Bader: Fighting Lil Nog in September

In a perfect world, I’d love to see Evans and Jones go at it because fighters fight and Evans made the poor decision of trying to uninvolve himself in the rat race for a year. Unfortunately, they’re from the same camp so FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU.

But I’d also be down with the winner of Lil Nog / Bader getting him, or Rich Franklin getting into the title hunt like he’s been asking. He – and Randy – also fit the ‘legend being fed to the wolves’ angle Bloody Elbow seems so down for, with the added bonus that these legends aren’t already seen as 100% washed up!