Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is expected to make his debut in the 265-pound weight class at some point later this year, assuming the promotion can close the deal on a potential Stipe Miocic fight.
Or “Bones” could bide his time and wait for reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who recently underwent knee surgery. “The Predator” is expected to make his Octagon return at some point in early 2023.
Both opponents present formidable challenges for the 35 year-old Jones, but only one heavyweight had former UFC champion and part-time “Bones” buddy Henry Cejudo throwing up the red flags.
“I mean, this dude’s a threat for everybody,” Cejudo said. “I immediately texted Jon Jones like, ‘Hey, man, watch out for this dude. You have to really plan for this dude.’ Stipe Miocic who? Ciryl Gane is a big threat. I almost feel like looking at that last fight, he could be a bigger threat than Francis Ngannou for a guy like Jon Jones.”
Gane (11-1) came up short in his bid to dethrone Ngannou in the UFC 270 main event last January but blasted his way back into the win column by finishing heavyweight hurter Tai Tuivasa in the UFC Paris headliner last weekend on ESPN+.
“What I can appreciate about Gane is that he invested so much of his work to the body to eventually go up then obviously Tai is kind of trying to catch his — he’s just trying to win at the end of the day,” Cejudo said. “If you have to play possum to land a big punch, I get it, but Ciryl Gane is the real deal, man. Somebody that can chop somebody down like that and eventually finish them ... that’s the type of stuff that I like to see. Investment in the body, investment in legs, to eventually finish his opponent. Beautiful work.”
Jones remains unimpressed.