UFC President Dana White only spoke to Jon Jones once this year

Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last fought in February 2020, defeating Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 by unanimous decision. He later relinquished his title with intentions of moving up to the heavyweight division to pursue a second divisional championship.

While away from the Octagon for the entire 2021 year, Jones had an eventual year outside of the cage.

He left his longtime management firm, First Round Management, in April and retained the services of former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. In September, Jones was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and injuring or tampering with a vehicle, a felony. The domestic violence charge was later dropped and Jones pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of destruction of property in regards to him head butting the police car. Jones was ordered to “stay out of trouble,” pay $750 restitution and get counseling for anger management.

When details emerged from the incident, which took place at Ceasar’s Palace, coach Mike Winkeljohn asked Jones not to return to the Jackson Wink MMA gym.

Jones was expected to face heavyweight champion Francis Nagannou this year, but negotiations with the fight promotion fell through sparking Jones to leave First Round Management. He’s targeting his heavyweight debut in 2022 in either April or July.

“I’m looking to fight somewhere in April, possibly Madison Square Garden, or a total opposite date, possibly July at International Fight Week,” Jones told Albuquerque, N.M., TV station KRQE early this month. “Those are the two dates that I’m kind of eying. I think it’ll depend on who wins in January between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and we’ll just take it from there.”

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During his time away, Jones has dropped from the top spot in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings due to inactivity. He during sits in the No. 6 position and is not ranked in any weight class.

Despite all the changes to Jones’ professional life and the arrest, UFC president Dana White only spoke to Jones once in 2021.

“He said that he wants to come back next year, which is, we’re looking at a few weeks away. And I’m sure that a lot of his decision making will come after we see what happens in the heavyweight (title) fight. Once that happens in January, we’ll know more about what Jon wants to do,” White to ESPN in a recent interview.

“We probably talked once. I think we had a text session back and forth one time this year,” White said.