KEY POINTS

  • Jon Jones appears to be at odds with the UFC regarding fighter pay and has asked for his release from the promotion
  • Jones was supposed to be the next challenger for UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou
  • Promotions like Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, PFL and Brave CF could be potential destinations for Jones

When Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to become the new UFC heavyweight titleholder at UFC 260 last Saturday, it almost seemed like it was a lock that former light heavyweight king Jon Jones would be getting the first crack at the new champion.

Jones vacated the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2020 to pursue a run in the heavyweight division.

RELATED: Factors That Jon Jones Needs To Consider Before Facing Francis Ngannou

Now, it looks like Jones’ heavyweight title shot is far from a sure thing. In fact, Jones’ UFC career could be in jeopardy as well.

Following UFC 260, Jones immediately expressed his desire to challenge Ngannou for the title, but he seems to be at odds with the promotion regarding pay. A day later, he asked to be released in a series of now-deleted Tweets.

This isn’t the first time that Jones has expressed disappointment at the UFC regarding pay.

If Jones does decide to part ways with the UFC, there are definitely a number of promotions that are waiting in the wings, ready to sign one of the best fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) history.

Let’s look at the best possible destinations for Jon Jones.

Bellator MMA

Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader Getty Images

If Jon Jones does end up splitting from the UFC, it is a no-brainer that Bellator MMA will come calling.

Bellator is the second-biggest MMA promotion behind the UFC and is home to a number of the biggest names in the sport as well as a host of former UFC fighters.

In terms of competition, Bellator will also be an intriguing fit, given the depth of the promotion’s heavyweight division.

Currently, Bellator’s heavyweight ranks include the likes of champion Ryan Bader, Sergei Kharitonov, Josh Barnett, Cheick Kongo, and many others.

ONE Championship

Brandon Vera
Brandon Vera ONE Championship

If Jones wants to really shake things up, he can follow in the footsteps of fellow former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez and head over to ONE Championship in Asia.

ONE Championship does not really go public with its fighter pay, but it’s managed to keep the likes of ex-UFC stars such as Johnson, Eddie Alvarez and Brandon Vera happy, so it could be something worth looking at for Jones.

In terms of competition, its heavyweight division is a little thin, with the exception of reigning champion Vera, former UFC standout Arjan Bhullar, Anatoly Malykhin and Kang Ji Won.

Vera has publicly stated that he would like to face Jones again, and it could happen if “Bones” signs with ONE Championship.

Professional Fighters League

Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum Getty Images

Another intriguing option for Jones would be the Professional Fighters League (PFL), the only MMA outfit that features a regular season-style format with playoffs and finals.

Jones will be fighting for his status in the division as part of PFL, where he gets a shot at taking home a million-dollar grand prize along with the PFL heavyweight championship.

Jones won’t likely be able to jump ship for PFL’s 2021 season, which begins on April 23rd, but if he does decide to join the company, he’ll undoubtedly be the favorite heading into the 2022 season.

READ ALSO: State-Of-The-Art Bubble To Host 2021 PFL Season

PFL’s heavyweight bracket features former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum, reigning PFL titlist Ali Isaev, Mohammed Usman and Ante Delija.

Brave Combat Federation

Brave CF continues to enjoy success with talent from untapped regions
Brave CF continues to enjoy success with talent from untapped regions Brave CF photo

The other promotion that could actually offer Jones the amount of money that he’s looking for would be Brave Combat Federation.

The biggest MMA league in the Middle East, Brave CF will enjoy a massive boost in credibility if it can bring in a talent like Jones.

READ ALSO: Middle East Promotion Reaping Dividends Of Focusing On Asian Talent

The only downside, however, is that Brave CF’s heavyweight division is quite slim in terms of competition and relatively inactive compared to the other promotions.

Still, if Jones is looking for a payday, Brave CF could be the place to be.

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