Jon 'Bones' Jones may be close to cleaning out the UFC's light-heavyweight division, but before he does, he will have to go through Dan Henderson, a fight most likely scheduled for Labour Day weekend in the US.
UFC president Dana White revealed that Jones versus Henderson is tentatively set for early September. So far, the organisation is yet to announce a card for September 1, but Jones versus Henderson is pencilled in to be the main event when it does.
Jones has been on a tear in the division since he smashed Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua last year to lift the UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Since then, he has defeated three former champions, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida and most recently, 'Suga' Rashad Evans.
Many people have claimed that Jones has already cleared out the division as he has left a path of destruction behind him, but White insists that there are still some challengers left for Jones before he eyes a move to heavyweight. One of those challengers is Dan Henderson.
Despite the fact that Henderson is significantly smaller than the champion and will be 43 years old by the time he faces Jones, 24. White thinks the fight will certainly appeal to fight fans: “The funny thing is, as soon as that fight was over, on Twitter, everybody was going, 'Henderson will kill him, Henderson will kill Jon Jones.' That's what everyone were saying.
“Henderson is small, that dude is a pain in my ass, but I give him all the credit. He fights. He has a great chin, knockout power, good wrestling. He is tough.”
On the subject of Jones cleaning out the division, White feels that challengers still exist for Jones after Henderson, should 'Hendo' fail, but he coyly failed to mention any names, shying away from questions on whether Alexander Gustafsson was ready for Jones at the moment.
“If you look at the guy and what he has done in a little over a year, it's pretty amazing,” said White of Jones.
“He's taken out some serious dudes. It's funny, because when you talk about cleaning out a division, there's always another guy who comes up.”
Still on the subject of the dominant champion, White blasted judges for robbing Jones of a clean-undefeated streak. Jones has a single loss in his MMA career, a disqualification against Matt 'The Hammer' Hamill, which came after the fight ended, after Jones viciously destroyed a helpless Hamill on the canvas with elbows.
However, in the aftermath, it was deemed that Jones used a downwards elbow en-route to the win and was thus, stripped of his victory and Hamill was awarded the win via disqualification, something that still irks White.
“Jon Jones should be f**king undefeated right now. He does not have a loss. If you are a casual fan and you are watching, thinking this guy is so great, then who beat him?
“The guy that beat him must be f**king great. That loss on his record, he destroyed this guy [Hamill].
“I mean it was one of the most one-sided fights you have ever seen. This guy was a great wrestler that he went up against, but you do not know that if you are just watching.
“It's stupid sh*t like that that drives me crazy.”
And what of Rashad Evans, the man who Jones defeated at UFC 145?
“I don't know [what is next for Evans]. We will get him back in there,” said White.
“The guy has been with us since 2005 and he's only lost two fights, against [Lyoto] Machida and Jon Jones.
“He made Jones look human. Jones did not go in there and destroy him. Jones fought a safe fight and picked his shots and I think for a guy, who is as young as him, every fight that he gets is a learning experience.
“All the things he had to deal with mentally, to get in there with Rashad, it's all building him to be the champion he can be some day.”
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