Jon Jones briefly spoke to the media after appearing before the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Tuesday afternoon.
At the meeting in Las Vegas, NAC granted Jones a one-fight license, allowing him to defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 in March. Jones vs. Smith has been targeted since early January, but it could not be made official until Jones was re-licensed in Nevada.
“Thank you so much to USADA, thank you to Nevada State Athletic Commission, my team, the UFC, mainly the fans, everyone for sticking by me throughout this process, allowing me to say my piece, allowing me to go through this process, eventually proving my innocence,” Jones said in a statement after his NAC hearing (via MMA Fighting).
Jones was scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the vacant title at UFC 232 in Las Vegas last month. He tested positive for oral Turinabol metabolites in multiple out-of-competition drug tests, but it was determined by USADA that the failed tests were not a result of re-ingestion, but instead of Jones’ previous failure for the same banned substance in July 2017.
However, NAC did not feel comfortable licensing Jones to fight given the abnormal test results, so just days before fight night the entire card was moved to California, where Jones had already been licensed. NAC wanted to hold a meeting to discuss the findings before allowing Jones to compete under its jurisdiction.
But after Tuesday’s meeting, Jones is in the clear — at least for his fight against Smith, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A welterweight title fight between champ Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman serves as the co-main event.
“Super grateful to be back fighting in Nevada,” Jones said. “Excited for March 2, it’s gonna be a magnificent event. Just really looking forward to all the testing. Looking forward to getting back in front of the fans and just putting on great fights.”