By: Matt Mascarenas
The UFCs heavy weight division is stacked from top to bottom and has been on full display during the early part of 2021. Three of the five fight cards in 2021 have featured heavy weights in the main event, the most recent was last night’s Fight Night card where we saw Ciryl Gane defeat Jairzinho Rozenstruik via unanimous decision. Rozenstruik was looking to stay in striking distance of title contention after his 2nd round TKO of Junior Dos santos at UFC 252. Ciryl Gane has been on a tear as he sits at 8-0 with wins over Dos Santos and Tanner Boser prior to the win over Rozenstruik. While Ganes win will move him up the rankings it wasn’t impressive enough to push him in the that title picture just yet.
After his big win over Curtis Blaydes Derrick Lewis is in the title picture once again. His third win in a row second TKO against a grappler has this current run looking a little different from his title shot against Daniel Cormier. Lewis seems to be better in the grappling department, which was a weak spot in the past. Derrick Lewis sits right in the thick of things as the number 2 contender with Francis Ngannou at number 1, if we are looking at things from the standings Lewis would be next up right?? He would get the winner of Stipe and Ngannou for a title opportunity, but this is where the heavy weight waters get really muddy. Insert Jon Jones the former Light heavy weight champ who relinquished the title to pursue the heavy weight division. Jones has reportedly put on 30 plus pounds to bulk up for the bigger weight class, he has been pretty vocal over the past couple weeks commenting on different fighters in the division with his most recent coming last night as he dropped this gem on twitter during the main event last night “These boys better get used to pushing the pace, all this standing around aint gonna fly when daddy comes home” to which Ngannou responded with “Daddy comes home? lol”. As of right now Jon Jones is slated as the next contender for the heavy
weight title, he gets the winner of Stipe and Ngannou. Jon Jones has not competed in a heavy weight fight in the UFC yet and he is getting the next title shot over Derrick Lewis. Jon Jones is arguably the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time, he is basically undefeated with his only loss coming to Matt Hamill and the illegal 12-6 elbow strike. Jones hasn’t looked as dominate is his last three title defense that ended in decisions with one being a spilt decision over Thiago Santos. Jon Jones rumblings about a move to heavy weight came when a little trash talk with Francis started over social media. The two went back and forth, but nothing really came of it as fight talks stalled out over Jones seemingly wanting more money or at least a contract renegotiation as the move to heavy weight would be a new venture. When you have a move like this with a fighter the stature of Jones its difficult to say he needs a warm up fight in a new division, but at the same time we can’t hold up the rest of the heavy weights. Derrick Lewis has one win over Francis already and wins over Volkov and Blaydes who are in the top five, and with Jairzinho and Overeem coming off loses its hard to see a fight with those guys. Derrick Lewis might be forced to sit and wait to get another title opportunity.
With UFC 260 at the end of March we will know who Jon Jones will fight and hopefully add more clarity to a division that has a lot of future match ups. Id like to see a Gane Vs Lewis in the meantime, but I get it if Derrick Lewis wants to wait. Don’t forget about Alexander Volkov who is on a two-fight win streak could we see a rematch with Lewis, maybe Gane? Either would be tremendous match ups and don’t forget about Blaydes and Rozenstruik who coming off loses will present some great match ups outside of the top five. Buckle in fight fans this will be a fun one to see shake out!