Jones last fought in February 2020, defeating Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision at UFC 247. Six months later Jones vacated the 205-pound championship and announced his intents to move up to the heavyweight division to chase a title in a second division.
According to Jones and White, “Bones” has been ready to fight since the summer. Rumor swirled that he’d faces former champion Stipe Miocic for an interim belt while champion Francis Ngannou recovered from knee surgery.
On October 25, Jones posted on social media that he was preparing to face Miocic on December 10 at UFC 282.
“I’m preparing to fight Stipe December 10 in Las Vegas. Not really sure what’s going on between Stipe and the UFC but I’m ready to compete! I’m going to control what I can and stay in shape,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
I’m preparing to fight Stipe December 10 in Las Vegas. Not really sure what’s going on between Stipe and the UFC but I’m ready to compete! I’m going to control what I can and stay in shape. https://t.co/3Ouu9Xk8Ns— BONY (@JonnyBones) October 25, 2022
White refuted Jones’ claim during the UFC 281 Post-Fight Press Conference on Saturday, saying a fight between Jones and Miocic was never in the works. He also expects to see Jones back in action in the first quarter of 2023.
“Jon Jones will fight next year, for sure,” White said. “We never had a Stipe – Jon Jones fight. He’s going to fight next year.”
With the timeframe for Jones pushed back to next year, it appears the fight promotion is angling for a match between Jones and Ngannou. White confirmed that Jones fighting for the heavyweight championship would be the ideal option.
“I think Jon Jones will be the next fight at heavyweight (against) hopefully Francis,” said White.