UFC President, Dana White, has confirmed the promotion’s plans to put together a massive Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic Heavyweight title fight for UFC 295, which is expected to take place inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., in November.
There had previously been discussion around Jones vs. Miocic for UFC 290 in July during “International Fight Week,” but for whatever reason, that didn’t come together. Now, the promotion is hoping the two Heavyweight legends will face off in New York for its big annual Madison Square Garden pay-per-view (PPV) card.
White confirmed those plans with Sports Illustrated over UFC 288 weekend.
“Jon Jones, next, you know obviously I’m pretty confident that Jon wants Stipe,” White said. “He looks at Stipe as, people look at him as the greatest heavyweight of all time. And I think that’s what Jon wants. He wants to beat him convincingly. I mean, he’s already the G.O.A.T., but to go down as the greatest of all time. And it’ll be very hard to break his record if he does do it.”
Asked if UFC 295 in New York City was the date to make it, White said, “Yes.”
“Yeah, that’s what we’re targeting,” he said. “That’s what we’re thinking. [It’s] Likely.”
“Likely” means contracts haven’t been verbally agreed to, and we have to wonder what’s been holding the fight up so far. Jones recently renegotiated his contract before returning to face Ciryl Gane in a blowout of a fight at UFC 285 back in March (watch highlights). Miocic, meanwhile, hasn’t fought since a loss to Francis Ngannou in 2021.
How cool would it be to spend my retirement fight dominating the greatest heavyweight of all time, in my home state at Madison Square Garden?— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 16, 2023
The 40-year-old firefighter seems pretty happy with his life on the sidelines, and obviously knows what a big fight his battle with Jones could be. UFC almost never ponies up PPV points for a title challenger, but it may be forced to make an exception for Miocic, who as White admitted is considered the greatest Heavyweight champion ever.
Or, UFC could have had its big Madison Square Garden event in mind for this “super” fight since Jones grabbed the belt. While the company’s summer 2023 line-ups have been somewhat mid, the end of year is shaping up nicely as White keeps his top names on the shelf for important partnered events in Abu Dhabi and New York City.
Miocic is the only man to defend the Heavyweight title consecutively three times in a row, and has held the title twice.
Jones has the title of greatest Light Heavyweight on lock after an unparalleled streak punctuated by lengthy absences caused by personal issues: drug suspensions, being stripped after a hit-and-run, and most recently, contractual issues. He’s defended the 205-pound belt an astonishing 11 times across two runs as champion. He relinquished the title in 2020, returning to take the Heavyweight belt three years later.