Two-time undisputed titleholder Jones hasn’t been in a action since a closely-contested main event fight against Dominick Reyes in February 2020. Having added another defense to his illustrious record, albeit a widely-debated one, “Bones” announced that a fresh change was inbound.
After vacating the 205-pound belt, Jones revealed his intention to transition to heavyweight in search of a second divisional dose of championship glory. What’s followed has been a lengthy period on the sidelines, described by Jones’ arch-rival Chael Sonnen as the longest training camp in history.
Now, it finally seems Jones is ready.
After a host of training photos and videos, as well as return teases on social media, it appears fans aren’t far way from seeing Jones making the walk once again.
During a recent interview with SunSport, Schaefer, an advisor of Jones since last May, praised his man’s approach to what is a physical transformation that has perhaps been understated. Schaefer then uttered the words Jones’ fans have been waiting for: “He’s ready to fight.”
“He’s been training, he’s been extremely smart about how to bulk up and have the right weight and do it in an intelligent way… Not just eating a lot but actually gaining muscle mass,” noted Schaefer. “He has been really amazing about it; I’ve never seen anything like it… He is ready to fight, he’s ready to fight.”
Schaefer Would Advise Jones To Take Interim Title Fight
Following Francis Ngannou’s memorable title crowning last March, it appeared as though a blockbuster showdown between Jones and “The Predator” was not only the fight to make, but the biggest fight the promotion could book across any division.
After a public pay dispute, the matchup didn’t come together and Jones committed himself to a 2021 full of preparation and no in-cage action. Now, as he approaches his long-awaited return, Ngannou isn’t an option.
The champ recently underwent surgery for a knee injury that he sustained prior to his unification fight against Ciryl Gane in January. That’s before even mentioning the Cameroonian’s preference for a boxing bout with Tyson Fury next.
With that in mind, Schaefer says Jones and his team aren’t willing to wait for Ngannou to return to fitness and solve his contractual issues with the UFC. For the advisor, that means settling for an interim title bout, and perhaps the rumored meeting with the consensus heavyweight GOAT.
“We don’t want to wait a year for Francis is going to be able to fight, if ever,” said Schaefer. “I’ll have to see how this plays out; the situation between Francis and the UFC. How does that play out? I’m always the firm believer that athletes should (compete). Because the clock is ticking, they don’t get younger.
“The goal is to fight for the world title, let’s face it. But sometimes, you need to maybe take a little step back,” admitted Schaefer. “So if it means you need to fight for an interim title to see how this whole situation with Francis plays out on a legal side and on his injury side, then that is certainly something I would recommend to Jon.”
Jones believes heavyweight glory is his destiny, and going through Miocic would be a solid way of getting to it.
Would you like to see Stipe Miocic welcome Jon Jones to the heavyweight division later this year?