Jon Jones Has Two Options For His UFC Return, Dana White Says
It might be baby steps, but Jon Jones’ return is only a matter of time.
UFC President Dana White said on Monday on “The Jim Rome Show” that the former light heavyweight champion is ready to return to the octagon, he’s just waiting on an opponent.
“Jon Jones is ready to go,” White said.
“We’re just waiting for an opponent. It’s either going to be Francis (Ngannou), depending on how long his knee is going to take to recover, or Stipe Miocic.”
Jones has not fought since defeating Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision at UFC 247 in February 2020.
He first won the title in March 2011 against Mauricio Rua. He then went undefeated in his next nine defenses, but lost the belt in 2017 after a no contest against Daniel Cormier in July 2017.
But it didn’t take long for Jones to reclaim the crown. He snatched the strap over Alexander Gustafsson in December 2018 in a rematch; their first fight in 2013 was recently inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
After making his 14th successful defense against Reyes in 2020, he vacated the title with intentions to move up to heavyweight. Those plans were likely delayed due to Jones’ legal issues outside of the cage.
But now, Jones seems to be in the clear and his two options for his return are Miocic and Ngannou.
Miocic has not been booked for a fight since losing to Ngannou by knockout in March 2021. The American has made it clear that he wants another chance to reclaim the strap.
As for Ngannou, aside from being on the verge of becoming a free agent due to contractual issues, he is recovering from a knee surgery that he sustained prior to his defense against then-interim champion Ciryl Gane in January.
He’s targeting a return for late 2022 or early 2023.