Jon Jones isn’t sure he wants to fight the winner of Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson 2 immediately upon his return later this year, and Dana White isn’t against the “scary” idea, but says it could backfire on the former champ.
It is widely expected that former UFC champion Jon Jones will face the winner of Saturday’s light heavyweight title fight between champ Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson upon his return later this year, but according to “Bones,” that is far from set in stone.
In fact, the 29-year-old isn’t even sure he wants to immediately fight for the 205-pound belt, which he held for years and was stripped from him in 2015 after being arrested on a hit-and-run charge. Instead of jumping right into a title fight, Jones is considering asking for a tune-up fight of sorts in his return, because he has been relatively inactive in the past few years.
“It is really good to be back, but as far as fighting the winner, I haven’t come to any type of an agreement with the UFC as far as who I’ll be fighting,” Jones told FloCombat.com. “I’m still debating whether or not I should take a warm-up fight or jumping right back in there for the title. I don’t really know what is going to happen and I don’t have much of a plan at this time.”
In an interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, UFC president Dana White responded to Jones’ ideas for his future plans. White isn’t against the former light heavyweight titleholder having a tune-up fight instead of fighting the Cormier vs. Johnson 2 winner, but warns him that warm-up fights aren’t always the best plan — for anyone.
“The guy has been out for a while. He had the fight with OSP, and I would not be opposed to him having a tune-up fight,” White said ahead of UFC 210, which takes place live from KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. “Tune-up fights are scary, though. The UFC isn’t a place for tune-up fights; anything can happen. I understand if that’s what he wants, but it’s super dangerous. If you’re gonna go for it, at least go for the champ and try to fight the best. If you end up going for a tune-up fight and you don’t win that one, that’s not good.”
Jones is currently serving a one-year suspension given to him last year by USADA for testing positive for two banned substances: Hydroxy-clomiphene and Letrozole. He was pulled from a UFC 200 rematch with “DC” days before the bout was scheduled to take place last July.
Jones hasn’t competed inside the Octagon for nearly a year, dating back to his UFC 197 decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux, in which he captured the interim title, which was stripped from him after failing the drug test.