Jones, a former two-time 205-pound UFC titleholder who has a firm place in the GOAT conversation, hasn’t been in action since February 2020. After defending the title three times against Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes following his return to the throne in 2018, Jones vacated the gold in order to pursue a fresh challenge at heavyweight.
After failed negotiations for a blockbuster fight with Francis Ngannou, a public feud with the UFC, and yet another troubling arrest, Jones looks back on track for his transition to heavyweight. He will, however, be doing it without the guidance of Mike Winkeljohn. The coach suspended “Bones” from his gym following his arrest for battery domestic violence in September.
Following that development, Jones announced he’d joined Jackson’s MMA Acoma, a gym affiliated with coach Greg Jackson. However, he was then seen joining up with former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo and the Fight Ready team over in Arizona.
During a recent interview with KRQE News, Jones clarified his current situation, confirming he’ll be representing both teams moving forward.
“As far as fighting, I feel like I’m in tremendous shape. I’m excited to still be representing Albuquerque, New Mexico. I just recently joined with a team called Fight Ready out of Arizona. So I’ll be representing both teams moving forward.”
Jones Sets His Sights On An April Or July Comeback
Prior to his most recent arrest, Jones was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame Fight Wing for his 2013 barnburner with Alexander Gustafsson. While speaking to media at the ceremony, the 34-year-old revealed he was targeting a return to the Octagon in the second quarter of 2022.
In his interaction with KRQE News, Jones provided a more specific estimation for his highly-anticipated comeback. The exact date, he said, depends on the outcome of the heavyweight unification bout set for UFC 270 in January.
“I’m looking to fight somewhere in April, possibly Madison Square Garden, or total opposite date, possibly July at International Fight Week. So those are the two dates that I’m eying. I think it’ll depend on who wins in January between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and we’ll just take it from there.”
While Jones has made his desire to fight Ngannou known, a bout many expected to take place this year, the rise of Gane as an undefeated and unique heavyweight has certainly made a fight between the Frenchman and Jones an intriguing prospect.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the former light heavyweight champ and the UFC hold onto their desire to book a fight with Ngannou if “The Predator” leaves UFC 270 without the gold, or instead switch to a title fight with “Bon Gamin.”
Who would you rather see Jon Jones debut at heavyweight against, Ciryl Gane or Francis Ngannou?