The UFC’s vacant heavyweight title was on the line when Jon Jones returned from a three-year absence from competition at UFC 285 in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday night.
Welcoming Jones back was neither Francis Ngannou (having exited the promotion) or Stipe Miocic (not ready until summer), but rather French heavyweight Ciryl Gane. A former interim heavyweight champion, Gane had the movement to keep any number of big men guessing — but would that be enough to give him the edge against the man many consider the greatest of all time?
In the end, Jones answered all questions and silenced all doubters in mere minutes. Fight fans around the world have a new heavyweight champion, and his name is Jon Jones.
After an early low blow on Jones, the pair of heavyweights engaged in a short-lived feeling out process before Jones shot for a takedown, successfully bringing the fight down to the mat. Jones locked in a deep guillotine choke momentarily, and just like that, it was over.
Gane barely seemed to know what had happened. Jones becomes the UFC heavyweight champion after just over three years away from the sport.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was twelve years old. I feel stronger and more comfortable, especially on the ground, than ever… once I got my hands on him I knew that I could take control,” Jones said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
The new terror of the heavyweight division 😤 #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/cFDbu7qftz
— UFC (@ufc) March 5, 2023
While many believe that Jones has cemented his status as the greatest mixed-martial artist of all time with this victory over Gane, “Bones” is not ready to call it a career just yet.
“Y’all want to see me beat up Stipe? You’re the greatest heavyweight of all-time, and I want you real bad,” Jones said. The stage is set for an electrifying heavyweight match-up between Stipe Miocic, widely considered the greatest heavyweight of all time, and Jon Jones, arguably the greatest fighter to ever walk this planet.
A lot of focus will be put on the finish, with Gane failing to fight the hands and put up much resistance at all. It won’t change the fact that Jon Jones has now claimed the UFC heavyweight championship, proving that the time away and move up in weight was no obstacle.
Official Result: Jon Jones def. Ciryl Gane by submission (guillotine choke), Round 1, 2:04