Jon Jones well aware Brock Lesnar could be using him to help renegotiate WWE deal
While Jones has plenty of interest in superfight with Lesnar, he remains realistic
While Jon Jones is certainly interested in the idea of a big-money superfight with former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, he's also aware of another possibility.
"I could see it being a leverage point to get paid the bigger bucks to stick around [with WWE] or come over to the UFC," Jones told MMAjunkie.com on Thursday. "Either way, I think it would be great if he comes over to the UFC to get a gigantic payday, probably his biggest UFC payday. Now, he has this as a leverage point from whichever direction he decides to go in. Good for Brock to have options."
Jones (23-1) returned late July at UFC 214 following a one-year USADA suspension to defeat Daniel Cormier in their rematch and regain the light heavyweight championship that was stripped of him in 2015. After the fight, Jones called out Lesar and challenged him to a fight.
The idea for the fight first gained steam during UFC 214 fight week when Jones answered a question from a fan during a Facebook Live Q&A put on by UFC. Lesnar instantly responded in an interview with the Associated Press, stating his interest.
"I had no intentions of fighting Brock Lesnar -- he wasn't on my radar," Jones said this week. "It's honestly not even my style to call out people. People were asking me on Facebook Live. I didn't expect it to go anywhere. There was only like 30 viewers logged in at the time.
"Little did I know Facebook Live actually records. I was just speaking freely and loosely. I got asked about Brock, and it went back to his camp, and they released a statement right away, and it kind of took off from there."
For the fight to become a reality, however, there remains multiple hurdles. UFC president Dana White said at news conference following UFC 214 that he hadn't spoken to Lesnar and had no plans to make the fight. More importantly, Lesnar would need to finish serving five months of his one-year USADA suspension (which was suspended when he retired in February) for failing a pair of drug tests at UFC 200 last July.
Once Lesnar were to announce his intention of returning, he would also need to be entered into USADA's six-month drug testing pool (unless UFC waived that policy, which it controversially did for Lesnar last year), which would likely puts the fight off until 2018.
In addition, Lesnar is still under contract as a part-timer performer with WWE and currently holds its universal championship (with a main event slot set for SummerSlam on Aug. 20). He would need permission to leave, similar to his "one-off" UFC return last year. Lesnar's WWE deal reportedly ends next April after WrestleMania 34.
While there remains obstacles in making the fight, with PPV sales down for UFC in 2017, the event would bring much-needed revenue to the company. With Ronda Rousey likely headed toward retirement and Conor McGregor approaching a full year of MMA inactivity, Jones remains the most important star the company has.
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