Last year, in the main event of UFC 200, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was expected to take on current champion Daniel Cormier in a bid to reclaim the title that was once his. Regrettably, Jones was forced out of this planned fight after a failed drug test, and was subsequently handed a year-long suspension (retroactive to the date of the failed test).
In July, Jones will once again be eligible to compete. And though there has been some speculation that he might take a tune up fight before fighting for the title again, UFC President Dana White recently explained that he expects Jones will receive an immediate title shot upon his return. White gave his thoughts on the situation on a recent episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“Jon Jones is supposed to return around July so the timing is perfect,” White said. “I haven’t talked to him. I have not talked to Jon Jones since the whole incident [at UFC 200]. Depending on where Jon’s head is and where he thinks he is, I would assume he would come right back and try to get his title back.”
The reason White is keen to thrust Jones right into a title fight is that, in his opinion, nothing else really makes sense.
“The problem with this sport, there is no light one. If you’re going to go in there and give it, at least go in and try to get your belt back. It’s like everyone was saying Ronda should have had a tune up [fight]. There are no tune-up fights. When you break into the top five in the world, everybody’s nasty. Everybody’s nasty. What you don’t want to do is lose to somebody [ranked] 8, 9, 10. It knocks you right out of the top 10 and it doesn’t make sense.”
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This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/1/2017.