5 potential opponents for Jon Jones
Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC / UFC / Getty

For the first time in his 27-fight career, Jon "Bones" Jones was that close to being beaten, as his bout with Thiago Santos at UFC 239 was decided by a split decision.

The UFC light heavyweight champion has made a habit of taking out the best fighters in the world. Now, with a lack of bona fide challengers at 205 lbs, some speculate Jones could make the move to heavyweight.

Here are five possible opponents for arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

Daniel Cormier

The UFC heavyweight champion remains atop Jones' wish list. The 40-year-old's only professional loss came against Jones at UFC 182 in January 2015, with the pair's second bout in July 2017 being ruled a no-contest when Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Since that fight, Cormier has won three straight, including a first-round knockout of Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 to capture the heavyweight crown. The American Kickboxing Academy captain is slated to defend his title against Miocic in the main event of UFC 241 on Aug. 17, and should Cormier emerge victorious and elect not to retire, we could see the trilogy fight by the end of the year.

Stipe Miocic

He may be the betting underdog against Cormier, but don't count out the former UFC heavyweight champion when the two step into the Octagon at the Honda Center. The 36-year-old has the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, a streak which included wins over Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou.

According to UFC president Dana White, Miocic and Jones nearly fought at the end of 2017 before the latter was suspended. If Miocic can defeat Cormier in their rematch, a showdown with Jones at heavyweight could be very enticing.

Thiago Santos

Unfortunately for "Marreta," only one judge felt he deserved to become the light heavyweight champion on Saturday. Santos has gone on an incredible 8-2 run since the beginning of 2017, which included four straight victories before his tightly contested title defeat.

Jones said during the 239 postfight press conference that he's open to a rematch with the Brazilian standout. If Cormier does decide to retire after his fight with Miocic, Santos may very well get the chance to run it back for the light heavyweight strap.

Corey Anderson

Perhaps the most forgotten fighter on the light heavyweight roster, Anderson might be the most deserving of this shot. "Overtime" has won three straight fights in dominant fashion, including a decision victory over former title challenger Glover Texiera.

What's held "The Ultimate Fighter 19" winner back is his lack of finishes, with his last stoppage victory coming in December 2016 against Sean O'Connell at UFC Fight Night 102. If the promotion wants to give Jones a new opponent rather than schedule a rematch, this could be a solid option.

Francis Ngannou

It's a long shot, but Ngannou poses a very interesting challenge if Jones chooses to move up to the heavyweight division. While some may have hoped to see Dominick Reyes or Johnny Walker in this fifth spot, it's "The Predator" who piques our interest. Ngannou boasts seven first-round knockout victories in his UFC career, including his most recent destruction of former heavyweight champion dos Santos, which took just over a minute.

The 32-year-old is arguably the second-biggest name on this list after Cormier and a showdown with Jones would likely be one of the most highly anticipated fights in heavyweight history. This fantasy could become a reality if Cormier wins his upcoming title defense and retires, and the UFC decides to set up a bout for its vacant heavyweight belt.

Who would you like to see Jones fight next? Let me know on Twitter @LynchOnSports, and subscribe to theScoreMMA on YouTube here.

5 potential opponents for Jon Jones
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