NB Slots Sports >MMA Arena >Ben Askren: If Alex Pereira fights Jon Jones, ‘there’s a chance it’s over in like two and a half minutes’

Ben Askren: If Alex Pereira fights Jon Jones, ‘there’s a chance it’s over in like two and a half minutes’


Ben Askren is impressed with Alex Pereira’s run to two UFC titles, but there’s still questions that would need to be answered if Pereira moved up to heavyweight to fight Jon Jones.

A longtime MMA veteran, Askren weighed in on Jones’ pitch for a potential champ vs. champ fight with Pereira on his podcast with Daniel Cormier, and he believes the current heavyweight champ’s wrestling prowess would be too much for the hard-hitting Pereira.

“People want to see him have the ability to stop takedowns, because of you can’t stop takedowns [from] Jon Jones, he’s going to take you down and submit you,” Askren said on Funky & Champ.

“We saw Pereira get taken down by [Israel] Adesanya and he was kept down for, actually, a significant portion of time. And it is kind of wild that we have this guy Pereira, and there’s no doubt he’s making his mark as, possibly, one of the best ever if he keeps winning, yet [there] are questions about his wrestling. Like, how would he do against good wrestling? And we don’t know because somehow Jamahal Hill didn’t try a takedown, [Jiri] Prochazka didn’t try a takedown, [Jan] Blachowicz actually did take him down and keep him down for a round, Strickland didn’t try a takedown. ... Like, these guys, they don’t try takedowns.

“He’s won all of these fights ... and as he’s fought Sean Strickland and on, besides one round with Jan — and Jan’s not really a wrestler, he possesses some skills but he’s not really a wrestler. [Pereira] has still not fought a wrestler. So we still have all of these questions. So if he fights Jon Jones, I think there’s a chance it’s over in like two and a half minutes. I mean, look what Jon did to Ciryl Gane. He’s a large man, he’s a high-level wrestler, he’s got great grappling skills. Yeah, I think there’s a possibility of that for sure.”

Jones defeated Gane with a quick submission to capture the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 285 in March 2023. That result was Jones’ most recent appearance following a several-year layoff. Injuries have kept “Bones” on the sidelines since then, and has his sights set on a re-booking with former champ Stipe Miocic.

Most fans would like to see Jones fight the established next man in line, which is interim heavyweight champ Tom Aspinall, who captured that belt after knocking out Sergei Pavlovich at November’s UFC 295 event. Askren is with that majority.

“We want to see Jon Jones fight Tom Aspinall,” Askren said. “Aspinall’s got the interim belt, Jon’s got the [other] belt. It just doesn’t make any sense. Just freaking make them fight, and then if Jon beats him, then Pereira vs. Jon.

“You can’t leave Tom Aspinall sitting here with the interim belt.”

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