While he’s been absent from the Octagon for two calendar years since deciding on a heavyweight transition in 2020, Jones has committed himself not just to a return this year, but another stint with gold in his possession.
For his first tweet of 2023, Jones reminded the fanbase of his continuing goal. In spite of a near-three-year layoff, “Bones” is still targeting championship status on the sport’s biggest stage.
After a 2022 that saw an abundance of new titleholders, many of whom came as a surprise, talk has turned to which contenders and returning names could usurp the current reigning kings and queens.
While Jones has inevitably become one of the main talking points in that regard, another man hoping for a shot at glory in 2023 has shared the same sentiment as the GOAT contender.
O’Malley Shares Jones’ New-Year Optimism
In the replies to Jon Jones’ 2023 affirmation was bantamweight star Sean O’Malley. While “Sugar” entered last year having recently jumped into the top 15 without facing a ranked opponent, the 28-year-old’s 2023 has begun with him in a much stronger position.
With a performance that shocked many, O’Malley secured a split decision over “No Mercy” at the Abu Dhabi-held pay-per-view. And while many disagreed with the result, “Sugar” finds himself at #1 in the division and, according to the man himself, “guaranteed” a title shot in 2023.
When that comes around, O’Malley has no doubt that he’ll be leaving the cage with the gold.
Although it appears that the next championship opportunity at bantamweight will be going to returning former champion Henry Cejudo, O’Malley is seemingly willing to wait for his chance against the victor later in the year.
There are, however, a few names looking to spoil that plan. Next month, Marlon Vera and Cory Sandhagen will collide in the main event of UFC Vegas 69. With a victory, “The Sandman” has insisted that he’ll be more deserving than O’Malley.
Given his current win streak and the fact that he holds a victory over the #1-ranked contender, “Chito” will no doubt feel the same way should he have his hand raised next time out.
Do you envision both Sean O’Malley and Jon Jones ending 2023 as UFC champions?