Jon Jones Will Return At UFC 285 As Part Of New Contract

When he fights in March, it'll mark two years since he fought.

Jon Jones is back. 

The former light heavyweight champion will make his awaited return to the octagon and will debut in the heavyweight division by fighting for the now-vacant title against former interim champion Ciryl Gane on March 4, according to UFC President Dana White. 

The bout is part of Jones’ new eight-fight deal. 

The news was announced during Saturday’s UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference, which is where White also revealed that heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will not be returning to the promotion. The development shocked the MMA community, who has shared mixed reactions. 

White said that he offered Ngannou a deal that would make him the richest heavyweight in UFC history to fight Jones, but he declined.  

So, White went to Gane. 

“Many believe, including me, (Jones is) the best of all time,” White said.  

“Jon Jones has been ready, willing and able to fight anybody. He didn’t care who it was.” 

Jones has not fought since February 2020 when he defeated Dominick Reyes, successfully retaining his light heavyweight strap, which he held from 2011 to 2015 and 2018 to 2020.  

He later vacated the title and later announced that his time at light heavyweight is done. Aside from dealing with legal troubles, Jones has spent his time out of action by bulking up for his heavyweight debut. 

Gane is the last fighter to face Ngannou. He lost to the now-former champion by unanimous decision. He returned to the winning column by taking out Tai Tuivasa in September. 

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