Jon Jones vs. Sergei Pavlovich? Teddy Atlas makes the case for UFC heavyweight title bout

Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas says Sergei Pavlovich could give Jon Jones a ‘competitive’ fight.

By: Kristen King | 1 month ago
Jon Jones vs. Sergei Pavlovich? Teddy Atlas makes the case for UFC heavyweight title bout
LAS VEGAS, NV - March 5: Jon Jones meets with the media following his win over Cyril Gane at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane : Event on March 5, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States.Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages Louis Grasse / SPP PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRAxMEX Copyright: xLouisxGrassex/xSPPx SPP_157517

Teddy Atlas had a lot of questions regarding Jon Jones’ return against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 this past March. Would Jones’ three-year hiatus affect his performance? Would Jones’ athleticism translate from light heavyweight to heavyweight? Could Jones deal with a ‘bigger’ opponent in Gane? 

Those questions were answered after Jones steamrolled Gane for the first-round finish that saw him win the vacant UFC heavyweight championship. ‘Bones’ would then turn his attention to Stipe Miocic, the ‘greatest heavyweight of all time’ for his next defense, and it appears as though the promotion is interested in getting Jones and Miocic in the Octagon near the end of the year. Though also interested in Jones vs. Miocic, there is another fight that Atlas is drawn to. 

Teddy Atlas interested in Jon Jones vs. Sergei Pavlovich

During a recent edition of THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas, the legendary trainer and analyst gave his thoughts on Jones versus Sergei Pavlovich, the No. 3 heavyweight contender who recently defeated Curtis Blaydes via first-round (T)KO at UFC Vegas 71 this past Saturday. It was an eye-opening performance for Atlas, who says the Eagles MMA Moscow product could pose a legitimate threat to Jones, both physically and mentally. 

“[Pavlovich] showed why he’s a force to be reckoned with, and showed why, for me, I’d love to see him with Jon Jones,” said Atlas on his official YouTube channel. “…that would be very interesting. I’d love to see that. He’s got the physical strength and the ability, and it seems like he’s developed enough technique to make it interesting in the striking part of it with Jones. And he’s got one other thing that you can recognize that I think is the most important part: he’s mentally tough enough to make it interesting, where Gane, quite frankly — and I’m not picking on somebody who’s down or kicking someone while they’re down — but Gane just wasn’t mentally tough enough. 

“I think he showed that a little bit when he lost to [Francis] Ngannou, where Ngannou might not have been as quite developed in certain areas that Gane was,” continued Atlas. “…Jones was too good not only in the physical area, but the mental area [against Gane]. Too confident, too strong mentally for Gane to have any chance. That’s where it separates for me. That’s where it changes for me. Pavlovich, I think he would be strong enough mentally, gritty enough mentally to make it competitive with Jones. I would like to see that fight.” 

Pavlovich wants to wait for winner of Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic

For Pavlovich, he has done enough to earn a UFC championship opportunity. During his UFC Vegas 71 post-fight press conference, the 30-year-old revealed he would ‘wait’ for the winner of Jones vs. Miocic.

“I’ll rest,” said Pavlovich. “I’ll eat. I’ll sleep. I’ll rest some more. I’ll wait.”

Since joining the UFC, Pavlovich has gone 6-1 throughout seven appearances. Following a first-round (T)KO loss to Alistair Overeem, the former FNG heavyweight champion rattled off six consecutive wins against notable names such as Shamil Abdurakhimov, Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa, and now, Curtis Blaydes. This recent win over ‘Razor’ saw Pavlovich surpass his previous record for most consecutive first-round (T)KOs (six) in modern UFC history.

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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