UFC President Dana White says Jon Jones could get a heavyweight title shot this year, and perhaps as early as this summer.
Jones is the former UFC light heavyweight champion, and is widely regarded as the greatest fighter in MMA history. Last year, he vacated his light heavyweight title with the goal of moving up to heavyweight in search of a new belt.
It’s been common knowledge for some time that Jones will get the next crack at the winner of an upcoming heavyweight title fight between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Francis Ngannou, but the timing of that potential fight has been unclear.
According to White, it could happen as soon as this summer.
“We know what [Jones] wants,” White told TMZ. “He wants the winner of Stipe and Francis, so that fight has got to happen first.
“It should happen this year,” White added. “It depends if that fight with Stipe and Francis goes off before summer. Then we could have (Jones vs. the winner) happen in the summertime.”
The UFC typically promotes a blockbuster pay-per-view during International Fight Week in early July, and it’s conceivable White and his team are hoping to book Jones’ heavyweight title shot for that card.
Whatever the case, the former light heavyweight champion seems excited about the imminent challenge.
“I was just ready to challenge myself,” Jones told Bleacher Report of his decision to move to heavyweight. “I was ready to enter a new chapter in my career. At this point, I’m in this sport for legacy and for the biggest-paying fights, and I just don’t think that continuing on at light heavyweight was going to do much for my legacy.
“The reason why I decided to vacate the light heavyweight belt and not hang onto it is that I knew my move to heavyweight was going to take a really long time,” Jones added. “I didn’t want to be one of those athletes to slow down the division. I feel like I’ve held onto the light heavyweight championship for so long—I’ve ruined so many people’s dreams of being the light heavyweight champion—and now it’s time for someone else to have it.
“I thought it was the right thing to do for everyone else,” Jones continued. “I could have done the selfish thing and held onto it and come up with a bunch of excuses and lied to the fans and said I was going to come back down to light heavyweight and made all these guys wait. I didn’t want to do that. I have no intentions of ever going back to light heavyweight.”
How do you think Jon Jones will perform at heavyweight?