mma / Columns

The Roadblocks Standing In The Way Of Jon Jones vs. Brock Lesnar

August 3, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert
Jon Jones UFC - Chael Sonnen

Jon Jones’ bout against Daniel Cormier rightfully dominated the headlines last week. But there was one story that nearly overshadowed the biggest fight of the year.

Jon Jones against Brock Lesnar.

News of Lesnar’s potential MMA return came out of nowhere and then details were all over the place on when he could return. But the opponent came up almost immediately: Jon Jones. On the week of his MMA return and facing his biggest rival, Jones was asked to look ahead towards a potential fight with Lesnar. It was unfair to Jones, but it clearly didn’t bother him. He dispatched of Daniel Cormier and then took the opportunity to challenge Lesnar. Fight fans immediately began frothing at the mouth over the possibility. Jon Jones has already started counting the money he’ll earn from the fight.

Jones-Lesnar would be one of the biggest fights in UFC history. It would easily surpass one million buys and challenge the 1.65 million UFC record set by Nate Diaz-Conor McGregor 2.

Jones opened as a sizable -300 favorite in the hypothetical bout. Some believe he’ll run through Lesnar with ease. Others are squarely in the “Lesnar’s blend of size, strength, and athleticism are unlike anything Jones has ever had to deal with” camp. It’s an intriguing bout between two of the biggest personalities in the sport.

If it happens.

There are a couple of roadblocks standing in the way of Jones-Lesnar becoming a reality.

First, no one knows when Lesnar can return. If he hasn’t re-entered the USADA testing pool, he’ll be forced to sit out about five months upon re-entering. If he re-enters tomorrow, the best case scenario is that he is able to return on the Dec. 30 card. Otherwise, they’re looking at the first event in January.

As wrestling fans know, January is an important time for WWE. It’s Royal Rumble month and the official start to the road to WrestleMania. It’s unlikely that WWE allows him to fight during their most important time of the year. Lesnar wouldn’t be facing a mediocre heavyweight in this scenario. He’d be facing the greatest fighter of all-time. If Jon Jones brutalizes Lesnar the same way he’s brutalized every opponent put in front of him, not only could Brock miss time in WWE, but his aura won’t be the same upon returning.

There’s a chance Lesnar returns sooner given the sketchy laws of USADA. A Jones-Lesnar fight is going to make everyone a lot of money. Thus, USADA would be willing to bend the rules a bit to make it happen as soon as possible. But everything still needs to go through Vince McMahon and WWE.

Worst case scenario is that Vince doesn’t want to risk losing Lesnar or Lesnar losing during the build to WrestleMania and doesn’t allow him to fight. This means a potential Jones-Lesnar fight won’t be possible until April 2018 when Lesnar’s WWE contract is up. While the interest would still be there, a lot can happen in that time for it to fall apart.

The biggest roadblock is that UFC has always failed to deliver on these superfights. Dana White has had more success putting together a fight between two people in different sports than two people he has under contract.

Unlike previous attempts at superfights both parties are very interested in making this bout happen. These two aren’t good friends with mutual admiration and respect like Jones and Anderson Silva. One guy doesn’t have to put on weight the right way like Georges St-Pierre needed to do before fighting Silva. And one guy isn’t deathly afraid and overly protected like Ronda Rousey was when talks about a fight with Cris ‘Cyborg’ came up.

Jones and Lesnar want to fight, but it’s an easy fight to put together on paper. Fights typically fall apart when the paper needs to be signed.

I told you Jon Jones would destroy Daniel Cormier. So, follow me on Twitter @jeremylambert88. Listen to Samer Kadi and I review UFC 214 in the latest Facing The Pain Podcast.