The year is 2016. We are days away from the blockbuster UFC 200, a massive card that is topped by a headline-dominating rematch between light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and his arch rival Jon Jones. Anticipation has reached an all-time high, and the violent crescendo we’ve been waiting for has almost arrived.
Then, the worst happens. On the 6th of July, Jones is notified of a potential USADA violation stemming from a mid-June USADA test, and he is pulled from the UFC 200 headliner as a result. Months later, in early November, it is announced that Jones is receiving a one-year suspension (retroactive to July 6th) as the result of this failed test.
Fast forward to the present: July 6, 2017.
One year removed from his initial failed test, Jones’ suspension is now officially over. If he wanted to, he could fight as soon as tomorrow.
That, of course, won’t be happening. Instead, Jones will be making his triumphant return to the cage on July 29, when he will finally rematch Cormier in the main event of the stacked UFC 214. The bout will be Jones’ first since an April 2016 decision defeat of Ovince St. Preux, and just his second since he first defeated Cormier back in January of 2015. Win or lose, it’ll be damn good to have him back.
In addition to its Jones vs. Cormier main event, UFC 214 will include two other title fights: one at welterweight, where Tyron Woodley will attempt to defend his title against Demian Maia, and another at featherweight, where Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Tonya Evinger will battle for the vacant throne. The card will also feature a light heavyweight scrap between Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir, a welterweight bloodbath between Donald Cerrone and Robbie Lawler, and a featherweight showdown between Ricardo Lamas and Jason Knight.
How do you think Jon Jones will look in his long-awaited return to the Octagon?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/6/2017.