While former UFC light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones is widely believed to be the pound for pound kingpin in MMA, Jones has fought just once in nearly two years. After defeating Daniel Cormier in a highly anticipated grudge match in January of 2015, Jones was booked to defend his title against Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson later in the year. Unfortunately, Jones was involved in an infamous hit & run car accident that ultimately saw him stripped of the title, and pulled from the card.
Ultimately, after Jones was stripped of the title and pulled from the card, Daniel Cormier stepped in to fight Johnson for the vacant light heavyweight championship, winning the fight via 3rd round submission to claim the vacant light heavyweight championship.
Jones returned to the Octagon briefly earlier this year, where he defeated Ovince Saint-Preux for the interim light heavyweight championship after Cormier withdrew from their scheduled fight with an injury. Following his win over OSP, Jones signed to fight Cormier in the main event of UFC 200, however just 48 hours before the fight, Jones was pulled for a potential USADA anti-doping violation.
While this week it was announced that Jones had been suspended for one year by the NSAC despite the fact that they revealed he didn’t knowingly take PEDs, Dana White believes that the extended time off could have a significant impact on Jones’ career.
He spoke on the Dan LeBatard Show:
“Yeah, he’s definitely one of the guy’s who could have gone down as one of the greatest ever,” White told LeBatard. “If you look at all the time he’s been out, he probably would have defended the title a few times. He might be fighting at heavyweight right now, who knows, but, hey man…when you do what this guy has done, you’ve got to pay the price.
“We’ve lost a lot of money, left a lot of money on the table and obviously his legacy is…I’ll tell you this, too…in the history of combat sports, nobody’s ever taken this much time off and come back and looked like they did when they were younger. Even [Muhammad] Ali. So it’s going to be interesting.”
Jones’ suspension makes him eligible to fight again in July of 2017, one year after he was pulled from UFC 200.