Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is trying to get former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to make his heavyweight debut against former 265-pound titleholder Stipe Miocic, who is already on board for that contest.
But if “Bones” opts to sit on the sidelines for another year, he can return in mid-to-late 2022 and score an immediate title shot against Francis Ngannou, or perhaps Derrick Lewis or even Ciryl Gane, depending on how the next few months play out.
“When [Jones] is ready to fight we are ready to go. He’s talking about fighting at heavyweight,” White told Full Send Podcast (transcribed by Cole Shelton). “But in the heavyweight division right now we are going back to Houston, Derrick Lewis is taking on Ciryl Gane and whoever wins that fight will fight Francis Ngannou. Whoever wins that fight, if Jon Jones wants to come back he can fight one of them. Or, he can fight Stipe Miocic. Stipe has accepted that fight and will take that fight.”
Champion2022— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 4, 2021
Lewis and Gane are fighting for the interim heavyweight title in the UFC 265 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Sat. night (Aug. 7, 2021) inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, with the winner moving on to challenge Ngannou in late 2021 or early 2022.
But even if Jones has a clear path to the heavyweight title, that still doesn’t settle the compensatory dispute between “Bones” and White, who remain miles apart when it comes to championship purses and what the ex-champ is worth.