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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champ Jon Jones has a clear path set to the heavyweight title.
On Friday, UFC President Dana White spoke with TMZ about a variety of issues involving major fighters, including ex-champ Jones (26-1, 1 NC). “Bones” has long-since planned a move up to heavyweight, and his sights were set on the top of the division immediately. His goal is to fight the champion of the division, whether it is Stipe Miocic or Francis Ngannou, who will lock horns in March.
“We know what [Jones] wants,” White explained. “He wants the winner of Stipe and Francis, so that fight’s gotta happen first.”
When asked about whether Jones would get a crack at the winner of that fight, White did not need to expound on the merits of this matchup.
“Yup,” White simply said with a laugh.
“It should happen this year,” he continued. “It depends, if that fight with Stipe and Francis goes off before summer, then we could have [Jones vs. the winner of Miocic-Ngannou] happen in the summertime.”
Jones has still never been beaten as a pro across 28 career bouts, with his lone loss a disqualification to Matt Hamill due to illegal elbows in 2009. Since then, Jones went on a torrid run through the 205-pound division to win the belt against Mauricio Rua and then defend it many times. Along the way, Jones failed multiple drug tests and struck a pregnant woman with his vehicle to have his belt stripped more than once.
Jones returned from suspension in 2018 to win the vacant throne from Alexander Gustafsson, and defended it thrice against Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes. Of note, his last two bouts against Santos and Reyes were razor-close decisions. Giving up his belt shortly after the Reyes victory, Jones plans on making his heavyweight debut later this year.
UFC 260 will take place on March 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, where Miocic will have his long-awaited rematch with Ngannou for the heavyweight crown. The event will be bolstered by another championship match, as Alexander Volkanovski attempts to defend his featherweight strap against Brian Ortega. Joining them on the main card is a matchup pitting ex-welterweight king Tyron Woodley against the thrilling Vicente Luque.