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05th Jan 2019

Jon Jones drops hint about next opponent after successful return

A fresh challenge for 'Bones'

Darragh Murphy

After back-to-back rematches, Jon Jones is looking for a fresh challenge.

Despite rumours of a trip to heavyweight and the realisation of a trilogy with perennial rival Daniel Cormier, Jones has unexpectedly hinted at a clash against Anthony Smith in 2019.

‘Bones’ took to Instagram to reveal that he was studying footage of Smith’s recent fights, leading fans to believe that the UFC light heavyweight champion intends to grant the third-ranked 205lber in the world a shot at the title.

Smith is currently riding a three-fight win streak, having knocked out former champs Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Rashad Evans before he submitted Volkan Oezdemir in October.

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So much to study, this is going to be fun

A post shared by Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on

“It sounds like he’s in,” Smith told TMZSports recently. “Of course, [my manager] has already been talking to the UFC and I think that they’re working that out and seeing what that looks like as far as timelines and stuff, but I’m in.”

‘Lionheart’ has looked incredible since his move up from middleweight and after Jones’ victory over Alexander Gustafsson last weekend, Smith proposed the idea of a July title fight.

But the fact that Jones feels that it is necessary to make up for lost time after sitting out a couple of suspensions would suggest that he would prefer to get back into the Octagon before the summer.

Smith is open to any timeframe and any location and while he would be a considerable betting underdog against Jones, whose only career defeat came by way of disqualification all the way back in 2009, he certainly fancies his chances of an upset.

“Any time, any place, anywhere, I’m ready,” Smith said. “I’ll fight Jon this weekend if he wants to.”