Towards the end of last year, there appeared to be two leading options for the arrival of Jones in the UFC’s heaviest weight class. Having vacated the light heavyweight title in 2020 to seek a new piece of gold, talk of a return picked up in 2022 with reports of a possible showdown with Stipe Miocic.
But after Jones’ desire to face the former champion in the summer, September, and at UFC 282 last month failed to come to fruition, talk turned to a showdown with then-reigning champion Francis Ngannou.
Even as recently as last week, Ngannou’s coach provided a positive update on the chances of his man facing the divisional debutant later this year. But this past weekend, that came crashing down with news of the Cameroonian’s departure after no agreement was made on a new deal with the promotion.
At the same time, Jones’ opponent was announced to be Gane, whom “Bones” will face for the now-vacant title at UFC 285.
While many appear to be eagerly anticipating the matchup, which some have even branded Jones’ toughest in the division, others have spoken on the apparent decision to snub Miocic and in-form contender Curtis Blaydes.
The latter group includes one of Jones’ former rivals, who doesn’t think anyone was calling for a bout with Gane to be made.
Sonnen: Jones/Gane “Wasn’t The Dance To Be Done”
During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, former middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen discussed the clearer picture at heavyweight now that a championship fight has been confirmed.
But despite the announcement surrounding the UFC 285 headliner and Jones’ long-awaited return, Sonnen believes the real story is the status of Miocic and Blaydes, both of whom “The American Gangster” noted as more talked-about options for Jones than Gane.
“I’ve seen headlines, they were. ‘Francis Ngannou is stripped of the UFC championship! Ciryl Gane versus Jon Jones!’ Like, these things are of interest — kinda,” Sonnen said. “We got a big problem with Stipe Miocic… We got a big middle finger put into the face of Curtis Blaydes. And that’s where the real interest of this is.
“I mean, one fight that you guys have never called for, one fight that was not being sought after and asked for — and please don’t be the jerk that goes, ‘I asked for that Chael. Please go check my Twitter account.’ You know what I’m saying here. Broad stroke, we, as an industry, have never called for Ciryl versus Jon Jones,” Sonnen added. “Never. Not once. We never heard rumors of it. We never speculated around it. That just wasn’t the dance to be done.”
While “Bon Gamin” may not have been the first or second-choice option for him, reports have consistently stated that Jones has long been ready to return and has been willing to do so against anyone.
That’s ultimately landed him at the doorstep of Gane, who narrowly fell short of undisputed status last January at UFC 270 when Francis Ngannou overturned an early deficit by exposing some grappling deficiencies in the Frenchman’s game.
It remains to be seen whether “Bones” will choose to do the same against a man widely branded as the most talented striker in the division.
What do you make of Chael Sonnen’s take on Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane?
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