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Jon Jones: I'd 'absolutely' fight at landmark UFC 200 event in July

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Jon Jones says he's willing to fight at UFC 200 with the original headliner of Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II scrapped.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday night, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones finally returns to action following a 16-month layoff against Ovince Saint Preux in the main event of UFC 197 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Saint Preux matchup is Jones' first fight after he was arrested last year for a hit-and-run collision, stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title, and suspended indefinitely by the UFC.

A few years ago, in what turned out to be a very memorable situation, Jones declined a fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 in 2012 after his original opponent, Dan Henderson, pulled out with an injury. UFC president Dana White cancelled the event -- the first of only two UFC events ever to be cancelled -- and blamed the cancellation solely on Jones and Jackson-Wink MMA coach, Greg Jackson.

As of late, it appears that Jones has been willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime (perhaps taking after his teammate, Donald Cerrone). After champ Daniel Cormier pulled out of the scheduled rematch against Jones with an injury, Jones stated he was willing to remain on the card, even against a heavyweight. That was of course before the promotion confirmed he would fight Saint Preux for the interim belt.

On Tuesday, Jones told media at the UFC 197 open workouts on Wednesday (via that he would be willing to step up and fight at UFC 200, should things go well for him against Saint Preux this weekend. The UFC 200 main event was scrapped earlier this week when Conor McGregor abruptly announced he "decided to retire young" over social media, which was followed by the UFC officially pulling him from his fight against Nate Diaz.

"Absolutely, I would totally step in to UFC 200 and fill in that main event or co-main event slot," Jones said.

Cormier hopes to be fully healed, 100% healthy and ready to fight by UFC 200.

"If they're telling me in 4-6 weeks I'm supposed to be better, that would leave me with 10-12 weeks to train for UFC 200, I could be ready to fight then," Cormier told The MMA Hour earlier this month. "The only thing with that is, it's a little scary because Jon is fighting in April. I don't know if he will be willing to turn around and fight right back again three months later. If he would, I'd love to run it back with him any time in the summer late summer, early summer, it doesn't matter."

So it sounds like if all goes as planned with Cormier's recovery, Jones leaves Las Vegas after his fight with OSP relatively unscathed, and the contracts can be signed in time, we could see a light heavyweight championship unification bout in July -- a rematch we've all been waiting for.