Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones hasn’t been seen in the cage for quite some time.
The last time Jones (26-1, 1NC) competed, February 2020, Stipe Miocic was heavyweight champion. Miocic would defend his title once more, then lose it to Francis Ngannou, who also defended the heavyweight strap once, before taking time off to deal with a knee injury.
It’s been two years since Jon Jones last fought. Since then, he had relinquished his light heavyweight title, had a spat over pay with the UFC, been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame (fight wing), went through some very public scandals… and it seems as if “Bones” may finally be back.
With September a rumored return date, much has been made of a potential fight between Jones and ex-champ Miocic. Adding fuel to the fire, UFC President Dana White recently appeared on The Jim Rome Show, confirming that Jones was ready to make his long-awaited return.
“Jon Jones is ready to go,” White revealed on the program. “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.”
Ngannou is unlikely to be ready before the end of the year, which could make things interesting. The UFC had originally targeted Jones vs. Miocic for July; with Miocic unable to make the date, the September timeframe then popped up. That’s far from set in stone, either. However, with Ngannou still healing up, and with his contract status in limbo, there are several more hurdles on his end than with Miocic — and the UFC has not been shy about introducing interim titles of late.
White, for one, is interested to see how Jones will look after two years away. “It’s very interesting because I’m a huge believer in ring rust,” White stated. “But for all the negative things you could say about Jon Jones and his personal life and things that have happened, he’s the best. He’s definitely the best of all time.”
Jones turns 35 next month, and is a year younger than Ngannou. Miocic is 39, but it’s not uncommon to see heavyweights compete until at least their early 40s, so Jones is by no means old for the division.