Will Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones Headline UFC 235 in March?

by Rick Rockwell
on January 7, 2019
3

Minute Read

UFC 235 is shaping up to be a potential jumping off point for the UFC in 2019. Over the weekend, some developments have taken place for the world’s largest MMA promotion in regards to their March 2nd PPV. The focus of these developments has been on the main event for UFC 235.

By Sunday morning, reports surfaced that the UFC is trying to book a fight between Jon Jones and Anthony Smith for the UFC light heavyweight title. However, the company and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier are both still hoping that Brock Lesnar will be able to fight in the main event of UFC 235.

With Lesnar’s schedule up in the air, and Jones still having to go in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commissions, there are still more questions than answers at this point.

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Jones vs Smith for Light Heavyweight Belt

During the late hours of Saturday night, UFC Dana White announced that the plans are to book Anthony Smith vs Jon Jones at UFC 235 on March 2nd, in Las Vegas. Smith (31-13) is 7-3 in the UFC and has won three straight fights as a light heavyweight.

Jones (23-1) is 17-1 in the UFC and just defeated Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 for the belt.

For this fight to take place, the NSAC will need to clear Jones of any wrongdoings stemming from his drug-test findings last year. These results showed a trace amount of turinabol, which is what Jones was suspended for in the summer of 2017.

The UFC and USADA both stated that this is a case of pulsing and not anything new or any new violations. However, the NSAC wasn’t able to review all of the information in time of UFC 232, so the UFC was forced to move the entire event to So-Cal from Las Vegas.

The NSAC will be holding a session sometime in January to go over all of the facts and timeline of Jones questionable drug test results. If the NSAC clears Jones then this fight will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Either way, the commission wants to “determine the appropriate path forward” for Jones in Nevada.

At first, Jones didn’t even want to consider a fight against Smith, but Dana White and some of Smith’s comments about Jones finally wore the champ down. about saying Jones is a cheater:

“The things that bother Jon are when people ask me if I think he cheats. Yeah, I do. It’s a failed drug test. How can you argue that? He’s been suspended twice for (performance-enhancing drug) use. I’m not the only one talking about Jon Jones. I don’t know what his deal is, but I honestly don’t give a (expletive).”

Jones has yet to really engage in Smith’s criticism, but he has posted some semi-cryptic messages on social media about Smith, which indicate that Jones is interested in the fight.

Lesnar vs Cormier for Heavyweight Belt

Since last November, the UFC has wanted a fight between Lesnar and Cormier for early 2019 with an eye on the spring due to Lesnar’s suspension with the USADA and needing time to properly train. Well, Lesnar’s suspension ends in a few days and he will be able to fight Cormier whenever they can get all of the contractual details out.

Speaking of money, if Lesnar doesn’t pay his $250,000 dollar fine to the USADA he will remain on suspension. I think his lack of payment is more of an act of defiance rather than a lack of money. Lesnar makes millions of dollars with the WWE and he will make millions with the UFC.

The main reason why the UFC was targeting UFC 235 for the heavyweight showdown is because Daniel Cormier plans on retiring by his 40th birthday, which is on March 20th.

Keep in mind, Lesnar will be a huge part of WrestleMania 35 on April 7th. So, there’s a chance that Lesnar won’t be available until after the WWE’s biggest event of the year.

If that’s the case then what will happen with Cormier and his retirement plans? With Cormier uninterested in a trilogy fight against Jones, and Lesnar possibly not being available until after March, Cormier might have to go with “plan C,” which is a rematch against Stipe Miocic who he beat for the belt last Summer.

Miocic has been angling for a rematch and Cormier has publicly stated that he would be open to one.

Currently, Cormier is a heavy favorite over Lesnar in any future fight. Most online betting sites have Cormier at -300 and Lesnar at +230.

Who Would Main Event UFC 235: Lesnar or Jones?

If Lesnar and Cormier could be made for UFC 235 then they would main event the night even if Jones is on the card. The UFC loves their heavyweights and Lesnar is the biggest PPV draw on the card. Can you imagine the PPV buys if both of these fights were on UFC 235?

Speaking of imagination, there’s a UFC future bet for Jon Jones vs Brock Lesnar. MyBookie has Jones listed as a -350 favorite and Lesnar as a +260 underdog. These odds are greater than a Cormier vs Lesnar fight.

I highly doubt this fight will evet take place due to how much weight Jones would have to put on in order to come up to heavyweight against Lesnar who has to cut weight just to get down to the 265-pound weight limit.

There is a realistic chance that neither fight will take place at UFC 235. Right now, we will have to wait until Jones goes in front of the NSAC and for Lesnar to be officially off suspension.

UFC 235 will be live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, March 2nd. The main card of the night will be shown on PPV.

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