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Jon Jones prepping for summer, UFC return still not set

The former light heavyweight champion has had his share of run-ins, with both the UFC and the law, but it sounds like he expects to return to the Octagon soon.

It’s been a rough couple years for Jon Jones fans. The longest reigning light heavyweight champion in the UFC’s history has spent the last 24+ months watching fights from the sidelines (when he hasn’t been in a police holding cell). And that’s coming on the heels of two widely disputed title defenses, against Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes.

The real driving force of all this time away from fighting, however, hasn’t been legal trouble, or competitive woes—but instead an ongoing contract battle with the UFC. Jones has been teasing a move to the heavyweight division for years now. Following his victory over Dominick Reyes, he told fans he was ready to make it a reality. Provided, of course, that the UFC was willing to pay him big money for the added risk.

To date, at least, that willingness hasn’t been forthcoming from the world’s largest MMA promotion.

Whether or not Jones actually get the big payday he’s been looking for in his heavyweight debut, at the very least it sounds like ‘Bones’ is getting set to return to action sometime in the not too distant future.

Dana White may like to tell fighters that “you don’t sit around and wait for fights,” but the move may just pay off for Jones. With Francis Ngannou sidelined by injury, and his own contract dispute, the UFC is now looking at the possibility of creating (another) interim heavyweight title. And as White recently revealed to ESPN, those plans could easily include Jones.

“Not until we know what Francis is gonna do or what’s gonna happen,” White said of the idea of creating another interim title, “but if that’s the case, if he ends up sitting out for a year, Jon could come right in and fight for a title.”

May just be that fans will see Jones fighting for UFC gold once again, in a whole new weight division, sometime later this year.