Do Champions Have The Right To Pick Their Opponents?

Published on March 26th, 2014 3:19 pm EST

Jon "Bones" Jones, in terms of his peers, may be one of the most unpopular champions in UFC history.

There is currently a long list of people who want to fight Jones. These people, almost to a man, have also taken their frustrations with Jones to a public forum.

One of the biggest complaints about Jones? The fact that he seems to want to dictate who he fights next, rather than the UFC.

For instance, shortly after Jones defeated Gustafsson in a VERY close fight, Jones declared that he had decisively won the fight against the Swede and that Glover Teixeira should be next. Many people were clamouring for an immediate Jones/Gustafsson rematch, but the UFC decided to agree with their champion and give Glover the fight instead.

In addition, shortly after Gustafsson crushed Jimi Manuwa, Jones took to his Twitter account to suggest that Daniel Cormier and Gustafsson do battle in a #1 contender eliminator fight instead of Gustafsson fighting Jones for the title. This came shortly after UFC President Dana White promised the next title shot to Gustafsson.

When it comes to Daniel Cormier, Jones has had plenty to say as well. Cormier had been steadfast in his desire to fight Jones, but Jones has said that Cormier needs to beat somebody of note at Light Heavyweight before this can happen. Many people bristled at this suggestion given Cormier's successful stint in the Heavyweight division. Aren't wins over Frank Mir, Antonio Silva and others enough?

One last point - shortly after Dan Henderson knocked out Mauricio Rua, somebody suggested that Henderson may be gearing up for another run at the title, to which Jones said "Oh come on.." on his Twitter account before deleting the message.

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Do champions have the right to dictate who they fight next? This was one of the biggest complaints about Anderson "The Spider" Silva when he was champion, as him and his team would publicly declare who they wanted to fight next.

Does Jon "Bones" Jones have the right to pick and choose who he fights? It was pretty obvious following the Gustafsson fight that he gave the thumbs down to an immediate rematch and the UFC relented, giving him Glover Teixeira instead. Is this fair to the rest of the division, or do champions earn that right?


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