Former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones has been poised to make his long-awaited move to the promotion’s heavyweight ranks over the course of the last ten months, however, the Rochester native has no plans to make his move an abrupt one — citing the possibility that he sits out until 2022 whilst preparing for a heavyweight leap.
Jones has been involved in some rather public negotiations mishaps with the promotion since March of this year — following Cameroon bruiser, Francis Ngannou’s eventual ascension to the heavyweight throne via a UFC 260 knockout win over Stipe Miocic.
Initially slated by promotional president, Dana White as the next challenger to the heavyweight throne following the rematch of Miocic and Ngannou, the president questioned if Jones was actually really interested in fighting someone of Ngannou’s prowess.
White had also claimed that Jones has requested a guaranteed purse of $30 million to fight Ngannou, which Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay, Jones has since denied.
The promotion are now expected to book a heavyweight title rematch between Ngannou and Derrick Lewis for UFC 265 in August, with White claiming that one-time title chaser, Lewis is the deserved contender to Ngannou’s throne. White also revealed that Jones had no interest in making his divisional bow against former champion, Miocic — before hinting that Miocic will challenge the victor of Ngannou vs. Lewis II.
Embarking on a rigorous strength and conditioning program since vacating the light heavyweight title back in August of last year, Jones claimed on his official Twitter last night that he has no qualms about sitting out until next year.
“Honestly I feel like the only people that it benefits, me jumping in their early are the other heavyweights,” Jones tweeted. “The way I’m training, I’m gonna be a real problem this time next year. I’m comfortable enough to wait and that’s exactly what I’ll do.“
When questioned by another Twitter user if this means he’ll be sitting out for another full year, Jones responded;
“Yes, I got a feeling you guys will still be around,” Jones tweeted. “The sport should be bigger than ever by then.. (sic) Always looking on the bright side.“
If Jones elects to sit out until 2022 at the earliest, that’ll mark a lengthy period of inactivity for the #1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter under the UFC’s banner, with his last outing coming back in February of last year where he headlined UFC 247 in a close, dubious unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas.