Jones, who is widely regarded as one of the leading contenders in the GOAT conversation, hasn’t been in action since UFC 247 last February. After returning from suspension in December 2018 and capturing the vacant 205-pound gold with a victory over Alexander Gustafsson, “Bones” tied Demetrious Johnson’s record for the most title defense thanks to wins against Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes.
Following a narrow unanimous decision triumph over “The Devastator,” Jones vacated the belt in order to pursue a move up to heavyweight. Since then, we’ve seen a blockbuster title fight between the 34-year-old and Francis Ngannou collapse after failed negotiations, and another worrying arrest added to the record of Jones.
Nevertheless, Jones appears as eager as ever to make his comeback and has consistently posted footage from training as his ongoing heavyweight preparation continues. He’s even been training with Henry Cejudo over at the Fight Ready gym.
Jones: “The Story Is Far From Over”
While lengthy layoffs are nothing new for Jon Jones, the fact he’s looking to debut at a new weight after so long away from the Octagon, coupled with his personal troubles, has left many fans and pundits doubting the former two-time champ’s ability to return to the top of the food chain.
In a recent Twitter exchange, one user suggested that Jones, who they see as the greatest athlete of all time, has been wasting his prime years by staying outside the Octagon. That view clearly wasn’t shared by the man himself.
In response, Jones pointed out that he’s returned from stints away from the sport and still found incredible success. “Bones” expects that to continue when he eventually makes his first appearance at heavyweight.
“Nothing is a guarantee my guy, even with years of inactivity I’ve been able to achieve some pretty outstanding records that are still holding to this day. And the story is far from over, I got a lot more winning to do.”
Prior to his recent arrest, in which he was charged with battery domestic violence and injuring and tampering with a vehicle, Jones was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame Fight Wing. While speaking to media at the ceremony, the Rochester native revealed he was targeting a return to action in the second quarter of 2022.
With champion Francis Ngannou and interim titleholder Ciryl Gane set to collide in a unification bout at UFC 270, it stands to reason Jones could be in line to challenge the winner later in the year. That, of course, depends on the UFC’s willingness to meet his remuneration demands, and his upcoming court date in January.
Do you think Jon Jones can reach the top of the UFC heavyweight division?