Next month will mark two years since the last time Jon Jones competed inside the Octagon. “Bones” defeated Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 on Feb. 8, 2020, and he vacated his Light Heavyweight title soon thereafter, announcing his plans to move up to the Heavyweight division.
Unfortunately, pay differences with the promotion and other legal troubles have slowed Jones’ debut as a Heavyweight. But, there are some who have just about lost their patience with “Bones.” Among them is Daniel Cormier, Jones’ long-time rival, who says it's high time the ex-champion steps into the Octagon instead of criticizing the ones who are actively doing it.
“For me, it’s about Jon Jones needs to fight,” Cormier said on his “DC & RC” show (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “At some point, you got to fight. You got to fight. It’s one thing to be the champion, defending, fighting – even when him and I were going through our thing, he would get suspended, but then he would come back and he would fight.
“Even if that meant fighting Ovince Saint Preux whenever I was hurt, but ultimately he was fighting,” Cormier continued. “Right now, he’s just talking. It’s like, when are you going to fight? Because for as bad as it was, Francis had a torn meniscus. Francis was hurt. Francis had a bad training camp. All these things ... Francis still fought.”
After Francis Ngannou defeated Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 after a 25-minute war, Jones was quick to blast both of them for their performances.
“I love how everyone gets so impressed with the new guy lol,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “If this is the apex of heavyweight fighting, I’m excited about it. Got some more records to break. At the end of the day, I’m fucking them both up.”
That didn’t sit too well with Cormier, who says even though Ngannou may not have looked his best, he still went out there and took care of business with a compromised knee.
“So you can say, ‘Well, they’re not that good,’ but ultimately, they’re still in there doing their thing. Why aren’t you in there doing your thing? You are one of the most talented mixed martial artists of all time.
“Why aren’t you in there doing your thing against these guys, opposed to judging them, because for all of the bad blood and all the bad stuff between Francis and the UFC right now, Francis still went out there. He went out there, he fought hurt, and he got a victory.”
If he wants it, Jones will get the next shot at the 265-pound title, though that is in limbo now more than ever because of Ngannou’s beef with UFC’s contract offers. That said, there are several other juicy options for Jones to consider for his 265-pound debut, perhaps a showdown against Stipe Miocic or Gane.
For now, it seems like the waiting game will continue and a lot of it will depend on what UFC officials plan on doing moving forward with the division now that Ngannou will likely be out for the remainder of 2022.