The road back to UFC gold has begun for Jon Jones.
The former light heavyweight champion received a 15-month USADA suspension Wednesday, making him eligible to return to action Oct. 28. The official suspension followed a year-plus-long investigation process, which eventually ended in arbitration.
Jones reacted to the news in a statement on his Instagram page.
“It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation,” Jones wrote. “I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will.”
Jones’ suspension was reduced from a maximum four-year punishment, as arbitrators determined that “Bones” did not knowingly use a banned substance.
Jones tested positive for the steroid Turinabol in a drug test related to his UFC 214 rematch against current heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in July 2017. He won the belt in the rematch, knocking out “DC” in the third round, but Cormier was reinstated as champion after Jones tested positive and the result was overturned to a no contest.
Jones isn’t expected to return at UFC 230 in November, but his focus has shifted to recapturing what he never actually lost in the cage.
“Now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead,” he wrote. “Greatness is what I’m chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now.”