The former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is just a little under a month away from being able to return to action for the first time since July 2017.
Jones has been out of action since that time as he wound up testing positive for banned substances after his UFC 214 encounter with current champion Daniel Cormier.
Recently, Jones was finally dealt with his suspension and the length of it garnered mixed reactions. Regardless of how long the suspension ended up being, Jones has always claimed that he never intentionally took any performance enhancers as he reiterated to ESPN.
“No [I don’t know why the test came back positive], until this day, we were never able to figure out how it got into my body, and that’s really scary to me. Very scary. It leaves me with a certain degree of paranoia. And now I’m just extremely precautious about everything I put in my body when it comes to everything. Before this happened, we were taking extra precautions by hiring professionals that were regulating everything that was going into my body and being in contact with USADA. So, on the supplement side of things, I was super, super cautious and super careful and now I’m cautious and careful across the board. When I say that I mean, eating food from certain restaurants and ordering drinks from certain places. Nowadays I carry a water bottle with me almost everywhere. I try not to be too predictable about the places I eat at, and that’s kind of shitty.”
Jones’ suspension would end up being for just 15-months despite it being his second offense. This made him eligible to return on October 28.
“I feel like this whole process has taken a lot of time. Proving your innocence can take a lot of time. Me and my team, we didn’t really care how long this would take. We just wanted to get all of our facts out and prove our innocence, no matter how long it took. So, if 15 months is how long it took, I feel happy with it.
It would have been nice to get no time, but obviously proving your innocence takes time. So I think they were very fair. Once they were able to establish that this wasn’t my intention, they let me go. So I think they treated me fairly.”
It was stated by USADA that Jones’ suspension was initially to be that of 30 months. However, due to what is being referred to as the ‘snitch’ clause, Jones was able to reduce his suspension down to 15-months.
Despite Jones’ manager’s claims, USADA has stated that this is why he got the suspension he did. Jones now denies that he gave up information and will continue to give up information for a reduced suspension as well.
“USADA asked me to do a lot of things throughout this case, but one thing I didn’t do is snitch on anybody in MMA. I definitely didn’t give up any information on anyone in the sport, nor do I know of anybody who’s doing these things in the sport. I think the whole snitching thing is pretty silly. It’s interesting to watch people jump to conclusions about things they don’t know what they are talking about. And that’s all I want to say about that topic.”
The biggest speculation upon Jones’ return was that he would be brought back just in time to headline the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden, UFC 230 on November 3.
The timings did end up working out perfectly, but Jones wasn’t fond of the limited time to prepare that that would have given him.
“It was offered to me, but by the time it was offered to me, I had about five or six weeks to prepare for the fight. I didn’t want my first fight back to be in a situation where I felt rushed, so I declined.”
It’s been looking like Jones’ likely return opponent will be an old rival in the Swedish ‘Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson potentially for UFC 232 on December 29. However, Jones says nothing is signed and official yet (at least not on his end of things).
Another potential opponent or return fight for Jones is, of course, his ultimate rival, the current UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
The series between the two is currently 1-0 and one no contest in favor of Jones. The no contest was originally a third-round TKO win for Jones. Because of this, he says he doesn’t care for a third bout with Cormier.
“No, I don’t [care]. I already have all the marbles when it comes to Daniel Cormier. I’ve beaten him twice. This game has never been personal. What is personal to me is chasing greatness, not individuals. So in the case of myself and Daniel Cormier, he needs to fight myself one more time if he ever wants to be considered one of the all-time greats. I don’t need to fight him again to be considered one of the all-time greats. I have many more years to prove it.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/5/2018