For me personally, for an XC front tire, I would only go bigger than 2.25 with a semi slick (for Maxxis = Aspen or Rekon Race), or stick to 2.25 with more beefier knobs.
In that case pair the Aspen rear with an Ardent front. Or go big with a 2.35 semi slick and go for the Rekon Race on the front. Great fast rolling tire with awesome side grip.
Still, if you want to stick to the Ikon or Ardent Race. I would go for the Ikon. The 2.35 Ikon is a totally different animal compared with the 2.20 Ikon and the 2.35 has way better and beefier side knobs. From that perspective, in 2.35, the Ardent Race is a bit too much of a tire for XC riding.