UFC: Jon Jones Anticipates Return in Second Quarter of 2022

Jon Jones, UFC Hall of Fame
Jon Jones, UFC Hall of Fame induction ceremony Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Las Vegas, NV — Things appear to be trending upward between Jon Jones and the UFC.

After a number of spats between the former light heavyweight champ and UFC President Dana White in recent years, Jones had a different tune Thursday, at the promotion’s Hall of Fame ceremony, where he was inducted in the Fight Wing for his UFC 165 classic against Alexander Gustafsson.

“We’re in a really good spot, myself and the UFC. We’re talking about fighting next year at some point,” Jones told Cageside Press. “I don’t know when that fight’s going to happen, but Dana White is pretty much just allowing me to do my thing and come back when I’m ready.”

Noting that he’d like to fight the champion when he does return, “Bones” added that “to my understanding, Francis [Ngannou, heavyweight champion] is fighting Ciryl Gane in January, so I’m thinking maybe sometime in the second quarter of next year that I’ll be back in there. I’m really excited. The main thing is to not count the days, and make the days count. So I’m working very, very hard. Harder than I’ve ever worked in my whole career.”

Asked about the transition to heavyweight, the former 205lb champ admitted that it’s been “a lot tougher than people would anticipate. Just trying to gain that weight without gaining too much fat is really the toughest part about it.” That has resulted in Jones eating plenty of red meat, on a diet packed with a of steak and hamburger meat, “every day. The food kind of gets boring after a while, just like the same meals all the time.”

Jones isn’t just looking to bulk up, however. Rather, he’s hoping to maintain his conditioning, explosiveness, versatility, and movement while moving up a weight class, which makes him thankful that the UFC is letting him take his time. “We’re doing it the right way. I plan on having better cardio that I did at light heavyweight. I plan on having strength that these heavyweights may not be familiar with, versatility and movement that they may not be familiar with, and definitely endurance that they’re not familiar with.”

In the meantime, Jones gets to celebrate joining the Hall of Fame — with a second induction in the modern wing almost certain when his career is said and done.