Let Jon Jones fight in peace

Jon Jones, second right, stands with others wearing

Jon Jones, second right, stands with others wearing a light heavyweight belt after defeating Mauricio Rua in their mixed martial arts match at UFC 128. (March 19, 2011) (Credit: AP )

Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica is the deputy sports editor for cross

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Anderson Silva will move up to light heavyweight and fight Jon Jones. After that, Jones will drop down to welterweight to fight Georges St-Pierre. When he's done there, he'll challenge heavyweight Cain Velasquez and featherweight Jose Aldo in a triple threat match.

There, are we done with all this silliness about dreaming up fights for Jones, currently a 205-pounder and the reigning UFC light heavyweight champion?

Let the man fight in peace.

Before you go play matchmaker at the bar with your drinking buddies, maybe, just maybe, we can wait for Jones to clean out his own division first. Or, perhaps we can let Jones successfully defend his title more than once. He's the seventh light heavyweight champion in the past four years and just the third to actually defend the belt. There hasn't been a repeat defender since Chuck Liddell did it four straight times from August 2005 to December 2006.

"If he is what everybody believes he is, the 205-pound division will end up looking like the 185-pound division which has had a lot of talent but it doesn't look it because the guy who holds the belt is so damn good, he makes it look like it doesn't," UFC president Dana White said, referring to Silva's dominance at middleweight the past five years.

Jones (14-1) next defends his title against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 in Toronto on Dec. 10, a decision announced Thursday by White on his Twitter account and met with disdain by fans in the great equalizer of social media. They claim Machida isn't worth a shot at Jones. Sure, he is.

There are about five guys at 205 worthy of a title shot right now, and Machida (17-2) was the only one available at the time. Rashad Evans (21-1-1), who's been the "No. 1 contender" for nearly two years now, won't be healed in time from a hand injury. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-5) and Dan Henderson (28-8) fight one another Nov. 19. Phil Davis (9-0) isn't healthy yet either.

"This division is stacked, Jon Jones has a lot of fights ahead of him at 205," White said. "The guys who have been fighting at 205 for all these years and have those slots deserve the respect to fight for the belt before we do some type of superfight."

Jones, 24 and from upstate Endicott, has fans of mixed martial arts excited in a way they're not familiar. He's the Anderson Silva of the twentysomethings -- a guy who can do whatever he wants in the ring and invents something new each time he steps into the octagon. Here's the difference: Most fans were introduced to Silva after he was already the champion and an established star. With Jones, fans are growing up with him, similar to how Tiger Woods inspired a new generation of golfers in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The promise of Jon Jones shows up at an autograph signing two hours before he does. He's an iPhone, his competition a StarTAC with an antenna.

But control yourselves when it comes to concocting fights for Jones. Keep him at 205 for a bit, please.

"He's still a young guy, and if he does clean out the division, he and I have talked about possible heavyweight."

Cleaning out a division isn't easy. Only one guy has done it. Of course, that's the one guy you want to see fight Jones.

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