Fans of Jon Jones should remain focused on his next fight because it very well could be the final fight of his UFC career. Jones is currently leaning heavily into the idea that a blockbuster bout opposite Stipe Miocic will lead him to retire.
Jones spoke with Fox Sports Australia ahead of a promotional tour Down Under, where he revealed his retirement plans. And there coming in fast and furious, though they aren’t definitive.
Jon Jones wants to fight Stipe Miocic and then retire
“I’m not really planning on having many more big fights,” the current UFC heavyweight champion said in addressing a planned bout opposite former titleholder Stipe Miocic.
“Right now, my goal is to have one more big fight against Stipe Miocic at Madison Square Garden and then kind of hang it up from there.”
When the bout didn’t come together for the summer timeframe, Jones vs. Miocic was quickly targeted for Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jones, throughout this recent interview, frequently mentioned November as the timeframe for the bout.
He’s okay with the legacy he’d leave behind
“I think the Stipe fight will be plenty for me. I really don’t feel like I have much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic. I’ve been in the game a long time, and in fighter years, I’m an old guy,” Jones said.
“I’ve got some small injuries and I just really want to be around. I want to be around for my family and I want to be around for my kids. I want to be able to play with my kids and have a good head on my shoulders and joints that work. So, I can see it coming to an end really soon. I’m really happy with that. I’m really proud of my career.”
Though Jones has been in and out of trouble both inside and outside the Octagon, he believes that he can walk the straight and narrow for the next few months, retiring with gold around his waist.
“(I need to) stay focused until November and then I can just focus on being a dad after that.”
What would keep Jon Jones from retiring?
There isn’t much that would keep Jones from retiring, though he did mention two things: Francis Ngannou and money.
After being at loggerheads with the UFC brass, Ngannou is currently a free agent, testing the market to try and land a blockbuster payday elsewhere. Thus far, there has been a lot of interest, but no takers with most pundits believing that he is asking far more than anyone will guarantee. One of the few promotions that could foot the bill for Ngannou, ONE Championship recently declined to make an offer for his services.
In his absence, Sergei Pavlovich has risen to prominence in the division on the heels of six first-round knockout victories. That’s not the fight, however, that excites Jones.
“(He’s) kind of a one-trick pony,” Jones said of Pavlovich, noting that the Russian fighter doesn’t have much name recognition, despite his exciting presence in the Octagon.
Ngannou has the popularity, the name recognition, and presents a challenge that Jones finds intriguing. It’s a pout that would likely come with enough dollars attached to it that Jones would find it difficult to walk away.
“I do believe a Francis Ngannou fight would be worth entertaining not retiring,” Jones said. “I think a Francis fight would come with some serious revenue, and that would make it worth my while. Francis is a former champion. He’s pretty damn popular here in America and across the world. It would bring in a lot of money, and for that, I’d be willing to come back.”
Never Say Never!
He didn’t slam the door on Pavlovich, though he didn’t think the risk versus the reward was all that appealing. But the door appears to be wide open should the UFC and Ngannou find a route to a new contract.
“Who knows, maybe the UFC will come with the right numbers and make this Sergei thing happen. Right now, I’ve got all the accolades, nothing really to prove, and yeah, I think a Francis fight would get me really excited to keep things going.”
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