It appears that Dana White is looking to move forward with plans for the light heavyweight division. That may involve UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.
Speaking with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White stated that there will be a fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title sometime before 2020 comes to an end. He is waiting to hear back from Jones regarding his status.
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is currently in a battle with the UFC over pay. This comes after Jones attempted to talk with the UFC about a potential “big money fight” featuring him v. heavyweight Francis Ngannou. Talks fell through, and Jones believes the UFC hasn’t been paying him what he felt he was worth. As a result of his frustrations, Jones expressed a desire to vacate the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and is looking to take a full hiatus from the company.
Making his UFC debut in 2008, Jones’ only loss in his career was against Matt Hamill following illegal downward elbows. He would win the UFC Light Heavyweight Title from Shogun Rua at UFC 128. While he has been stripped of it a few times, Jones has defended the belt a combined 11 times.
White stated that Jones is requesting “Deontay Wilder-like” money, ranging to around $30 million. Despite all of this, White believes Jones will be back in the octagon. Speaking with The Schmo, White discussed the possibilities for Jones if he were to fight again. One of those fights involves Dominick Reyes, who Jones beat in a controversial unanimous decision result at UFC 247 in February.
“It depends on what he does,” White would state, via MMA Junkie. “Does he move up to heavyweight? If he stays at light heavyweight, he’s got to fight Reyes again. You have to see the Reyes fight again. And if he moves up to heavyweight, there’s a lot of interesting (matchups). He could fight (Daniel) Cormier, he could fight Stipe (Miocic) depending on who wins on Saturday (at UFC 252). He could fight Francis Ngannou. There are a lot of fun fights for him at heavyweight.”
Cormier and Miocic will be fighting this weekend at UFC 252 to determine the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Planning on retiring after the bout, Cormier winning could open the door for Jones to fight for a vacant title. As of now, there are no concrete plans for Jones when it comes to the UFC.