Jon Jones has been relatively quiet in the MMA sphere since ‘retiring’ from the sport after negotiations for a Francis Ngannou superfight stalled out before they even began. But he lit his account back up for UFC 252, stated he was cheering for Daniel Cormier to win his rubber match against Stipe Miocic, and then declared he’d be coming for the heavyweight title after Stipe Miocic took the unanimous decision win (watch the highlights here).
Will that really happen? Jones has been teasing a move from light heavyweight to heavyweight for years but it’s never materialized. To be fair, it’s always come with a caveat: the UFC would need to pay him more to move up. And for some reason Jones has never been on the short list of fighters the UFC is willing crack open their wallet for.
Maybe it’s because of all the headaches and fight cancellations and legal issues outside the cage. Maybe Dana White’s blackjack senses just tell him he can outmaneuver “Bones” at the negotiating table every time. Whatever the case, the real losers in this game of financial chicken are the fans.
Did these tweets from Jones mean the impasse between him and his promotion was sorted? Unfortunately not. Despite Dana White claiming he’d reached out to Jon to sort out the light heavyweight division, it now seems like he’s been less than responsive.
“That’s the first thing we’ve heard from him, right there, is on social media,” White said during the UFC 252 post-fight press conference.
As for the possibility of Jones leapfrogging the widely recognized #1 contender Francis Ngannou?
“Francis is definitely next,” White confirmed. “I mean, you can’t jump over Francis. Francis has been out there destroying everybody. And if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot, he’s worked his way back. It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”
When asked if White had a preference between Jones defending his title or moving to heavyweight, he replied it was completely up to Jones ... if Jones even wants to fight.
“There isn’t anything I’d rather have him do,” White said. “The guy either wants to fight or if he doesn’t. If he wants to fight he’ll let us know. And if he doesn’t, he won’t.”
So yeah, long story short: the UFC still sounds pretty uninterested in giving Jones any special treatment. He can either fight under the current financial terms of his contract, or sit out. If he decides to continue fighting at 205, White has said a Dominick Reyes rematch is next. If it’s heavyweight? It doesn’t sound like there’s an immediate title shot waiting for him there.