Jon Jones is already considered by many to be the best mixed martial artist the world has ever seen, but he recently admitted to receiving a bit of inspiration from Conor McGregor to reach for even greater heights.
Of course, Jones' out of the cage issues have blemished what is an otherwise stellar career. Hardly anyone has been able to hang with Jones in the cage, but outside of it, he has continually shot himself in the foot.
Jones has been involved in a few legal entanglements and has twice found himself in the midst of a UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation, the latest of which is still being adjudicated. But in the cage, he is near perfect.
Though he's toppled some of biggest names in the sport – including the likes of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Lyoto Machida, Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Vitor Belfort, and more – Jones aspires to do more.
“Conor McGregor has definitely inspired me to reach for bigger fights,” Jones said during a recent appearance on Allow Me To Interrupt. “The higher the risk, the higher the reward. That’s my plan, take a page out of his book, and start challenging myself against some pretty scary dudes.”
That likely means a trip up to heavyweight, which Jones has long teased, but never made the move. He has defeated most of the best light heavyweights in the world, though there are still challengers there, but heavyweight is a territory that has a laundry list of "scary dudes" that Jones has yet to face. Such a move could certainly lead to some blockbuster match-ups for Jones, who has long been interested in fighting Brock Lesnar, who is expected to make his UFC return in 2019.
A heavyweight battle with Jones might also entice current UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier from retiring as planned on his 40th birthday. A heavyweight bout might feel more favorable to Cormier after twice losing to Jones at 205 pounds, although the second loss was changed to a no contest because of Jones' anti-doping violation.
Stipe Miocic is a powerful fighter that might be a good match-up for Jones in the heaviest of weight classes, as well as the likes of Francis Ngannou, who might have lost his mojo following back-to-back losses, but who has scary power in his hands.
"I'm a fan of Francis, I follow him on Instagram and everything," said Jones. "But yeah, I would totally be up for it."
Regardless of who is around if and when Jones moves to heavyweight, there are a plethora of new opponents awaiting him.