Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was adamant he wouldn’t let Jon Jones headline his first fight back from suspension for fear of having “Bones” drop out last minute like he did UFC 200 because of a failed drug test. Unsurprisingly, Jones was pegged to headline UFC 214 on July 29, 2017, against Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in Anaheim, California.
But, is there a chance Jones drops out? Highly unlikely, according to his striking coach John Winkeljohn, who appeared on Submission Radio to vouch for the former champion and to predict a world of pain for “DC.”
“Nah, he won’t exit. No, Jon’s getting his title back – well, the title he never lost. Yeah, he’s walking out back being the champ of the world again. Absolutely, absolutely. Jon’s focus is on point. Like I said, when Jon gets on top of someone on the ground, it’s always a bloody mess with elbows, etcetera. He’s got great submissions from there too and Jon can take Daniel down like you saw last time, there’s no doubt about it. But on the way, there’s a lot of strikes that Daniel’s gonna run into before he gets taken down.”
In any case, the promotion has pegged Jimi Manuwa — who will face Volkan Oezdemir in the co-main event -- as a replacement should either be unable to make it to the main event.
As for a potential rematch against Alexander Gustafsson, Winkeljohn hopes that’s what’s next for his star pupil now their rivalry has been renewed. And though “The Mauler” gave “Bones” everything he could handle at UFC 165, “Wink” says this time around it will be a finish for Jones.
“Oh yeah, I think he finishes him, there’s no doubt about it. I just want it to be a big fight. I think that both guys, DC in this fight, Jon and Gustafsson in the next fight, all the guys, I just want them to… I have no problem with them doing whatever, talking the way they talk behind the scenes. Whatever can get more pay-per-view sales, whatever’s gonna make these guys more money and sell the fight, at the end of the day, that’s what you gotta do. But I definitely see it being a shorter fight and Jon finishing him.”
Indeed, Jones has declared that his hard partying days are behind him, which means we we could be seeing the return of a more focused former titleholder who would love nothing more than to go up 2-0 against his biggest rival, all while reclaiming the strap he never actually lost inside the Octagon.
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