While the Ronda Rousey experiment didn’t work out as planned, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for part-time stints or cameo programs involving UFC’s big assets. Many have put forward Conor McGregor (a character who loves antics and idolizes Vince McMahon) as someone Dana White and the WWE should work with, but the best bet would actually be the UFC’s most hated personality, Jon Jones.
‘Bones’ Jones is one of the sport’s most gifted athletes, climbing up the light heavyweight ranks in lightning fashion en route to the 32-year-old becoming the company’s youngest champion. He’s beaten the likes of Daniel Cormier, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Rashad Evans, and Brazilian legends such as Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort and, as purists would recall, Maurício Rua to win the division’s belt in 2011. However, his career is constantly plagued by controversy and disciplinary action. He was arrested on felony hit-and-run charges in 2015 which involved hitting a pregnant woman’s car, and had title-winning returns in 2016 and 2017 tainted by positive drug tests. His latest incident came last month when Jones was charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), negligent use of a firearm (firing the weapon off after midnight), and possession of an open container.
Jones is admittedly quite a handful and White always has to do extensive PR. Still, he knows the caliber of fighter Jones is. Interestingly, Sonnen, who was known as “The Bad Guy” for his heel-like ways, and Cormier have made it clear, Jones should embrace his villain persona and stop trying to be the nice guy. It’s the same excuse and apology every time, and by now, this is the real Jones. It doesn’t matter if he’s the best pound-for-pound fighter or that he’s topped Georges St-Pierre for most title wins in UFC history (14) and tied Demetrious Johnson for title defenses (12). Bones is simply arrogant, unapologetic, and honestly, someone WWE creative couldn’t script if it tried.
He’s always on Twitter trash-talking fans, future opponents, past opponents, and anyone in general who pokes at him. And make no mistake, Jones loves the attention, making fun of people who focus on him — reporters included — during the coronavirus pandemic. Jones has that ego and narcissist factor down, and if Tyson Fury could have gotten big money for a work against Braun Strowman in Crown Jewel, ‘Bones’ is just too good an opportunity to pass up. Seriously, Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, and Paul Heyman couldn’t come up with a more hateable character and the fact he’s probably going to end as the best ever works in WWE’s favor.
Jones is ratings gold and he knows how to work the mic. Promos would be epic, and the thing is, WWE doesn’t even need to use him as a fighter. It could be a small program working with another heel like A.J. Styles or the Miz, or a cameo or two to harass a face — he’ll help to raise ratings, for sure, especially at a time when no crowds are present. This could also stir the pot in UFC’s favor as Jones has said someday he’d love to take on Brock Lesnar. Ultimately, Vince needs to pull this trigger and ‘sign’ Jones as he’s hot property, standing atop a UFC mountain where no one can beat him. Waiting too long could see him lose stock if he is defeated in the octagon, if he retires and leaves fighting behind on the whole, or if he goes on to be involved in another infraction that could end his career. Strike while the iron is hot as this cross-promotion can only benefit all parties involved.
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WWE should continue its run of using UFC fighters and the next person who should be signed is Dana White's most hated athlete: Jon 'Bones' Jones.