UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Jon Jones’ comeback struggle will come in opposition to Francis Ngannou or Stipe Miocic.
Jones (26-1, 1 No Contest) is seen by most followers as one of many biggest UFC fighters of all time, regardless of his indiscretions out and in of the ring, and he has held the promotion’s gentle heavyweight title thrice.
The American’s first reign ended when he was stripped of the title in 2015 after being arrested on felony hit-and-run costs, earlier than his second stint as champion ended when he was stripped of the belt attributable to testing constructive for efficiency enhancing medication (PEDs).
Jones, who additionally examined constructive for PEDs in 2018, has had quite a few run-ins with the regulation. His most up-to-date title reign ended voluntarily, although, when he vacated the gold whereas concentrating on a transfer as much as heavyweight.
Jones, 34, final competed in February 2020, retaining the sunshine heavyweight title with a controversial factors win in opposition to Dominick Reyes. It was shortly after that contest that Jones relinquished the belt, however his heavyweight debut has nonetheless not materialised amid a pay dispute with the UFC.
White, nonetheless, has now stated that Jones’ subsequent outing will both see him problem heavywight champion Francis Ngannou or Stipe Miocic – the person Ngannou dethroned in 2021.
“Jon Jones is ready to go,” White stated on The Jim Rome Show. “We’re just waiting for an opponent.
“It’s either going to be [Ngannou], depending on how long his knee is going to take to recover, or Stipe Miocic.”
Miocic, 39, held the UFC heavyweight title between 2016 and 2019, then once more from 2018 to 2021. The American’s three straight profitable defences throughout his first reign marked a report within the division.
One of these defences got here through a masterful peformance in opposition to Ngannou, whom Miocic (20-4) outpointed comprehensively in early 2018. The Cameroonian would avenge that loss three years later, nonetheless, residing as much as his repute because the UFC’s deadliest puncher ever by knocking out Miocic in Round 2.
With that victory, Ngannou (17-3) lastly received the UFC heavyweight title, and his first defence got here this January in opposition to former teammate Ciryl Gane, who entered the bout as interim champion.
Ngannou received through choice after a surprisingly environment friendly show of wrestling. The 35-year-old had entered the struggle injured, which solely enhanced the impressiveness of his win but additionally led him to require surgical procedure shortly after the bout.
As such, Ngannou just isn’t anticipated again within the Octagon till the tip of this 12 months on the earliest. The “Predator” can also be eager on a crossover struggle with WBC boxing champion Tyson Fury.