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Jon Jones hits the weight room as heavyweight preparations begin

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The former light heavyweight champion is back to weight lifting as he prepares for a run at UFC’s heavyweight title.

UFC 197 Weigh-in Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The quest for heavyweight gold is on ...

Jon Jones has talked about a move up from Light Heavyweight to Heavyweight for years, and now he’s finally doing it. The long-time 205-pound kingpin relinquished his championship belt last week (saving himself the ignominy of being stripped once again), and now he’s in the gym getting his squat numbers back up to battle bigger opponents.

In a video posted to his Twitter, Jones does a five set of five squats with 275 pounds on his shoulders. Take a look:

He’s got a ways to go before he hits his former 205-pound peak, but he’s got time and a roadmap. The last time he got seriously into weightlifting, it took him 15 months to basically double his numbers.

“When I first started deadlifting, I could lift 275,” Jones told Men’s Health back in 2016. “Seven months later I’m up to 600 pounds. I first started squatting around 275, but now I’m at 500. I started around 230 pounds, but I was pretty out of shape. I got up to 238 pounds—but I had visible abs. I transformed a lot of fat into muscle. Fitness really changed my life. Weightlifting is my new high.”

If he gets back to that mindset, is there anything he can’t do?

Funny enough, Jones had one of the most lackluster performances of his career after all that deadlifting against Ovince Saint-Preux. There was a lot of speculation that all that extra muscle ended up slowing down Jones, hurting him instead of helping. Leading up to his UFC 200 fight against Daniel Cormier (that would end up being canceled last minute), Jones returned from the gym, changing his nickname from “Meat” to “Bones” and admitting, “My muscle endurance maybe wasn’t in the right place.”

We’re sure Jones has enough smart people around him to help avoid similar pitfalls this time around. And he’s got time, too ... UFC President Dana White initially sounded dubious about Jon’s latest round of Heavyweight talk, saying there was no way Jones would jump over current No. 1 contender Francis Ngannou. And while he hasn’t budged on that, he did later say Jones deserved an immediate Heavyweight title shot.

So barring some sort of craziness (which is always a possibility with Jones and the world these days) that’s waiting for “Bones” once Ngannou and champ Stipe Miocic fight, either at the end of 2020 or early 2021.