Rumors have suggested that Jon Jones will take on former heavyweight titleholder Stipe Miocic in his divisional debut, potentially for an interim belt later this year.
According to reports, the UFC was targeting a July return for ‘Bones’, but the 33-year-old later revealed that the bout was getting pushed to September as Miocic required time to get ready. Now in August and with pay-per-view headliners set up until December, the timeline for Jones’ return remains a mystery.
Jon Jones could solidify himself as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time with a move up to heavyweight. According to his coach Brandon Gibson, ‘Bones’ has already earned the GOAT distinction with his accomplishments in the sport.
However, he believes that the former two-time UFC light heavyweight champion will put an end to that debate if he captures the heavyweight crown. Speaking on Submission Radio, Gibson said:
“That’s the most prized title in all of combat sports. Being the heavyweight champion – that’s the baddest man on the planet. So I agree that if Jon retired today, he’s the greatest, but I think Jon wants to cement that legacy where there is no talk about Adesanya or Khabib, or Fedor, or anybody else… I think winning this heavyweight belt will truly do that for him.”
Jones relinquished the 205-pound title after his unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes in early 2020. The 33-year-old now has his eyes set on the heavyweight crown.
During the same interview, coach Gibson stated that he isn’t sure “what the delay has been with Stipe.” He also added that they’re still awaiting a date and contract for the fight.
Miocic last competed at UFC 260 in March 2021 when he dropped the heavyweight title to Francis Ngannou. The 39-year-old suffered a second-round knockout at the hands of ‘The Predator’.
While Miocic appears to be the likely opponent for Jones’ heavyweight debut, the UFC may also end up booking ‘Bones’ against Ngannou if he recovers from his injury in time.
Speaking to TMZ Sports in June, the heavyweight champion gave an update on his octagon return and stated that he could be back by the end of 2022 or early next year:
“If everything goes well, I’ll be ready by the end of the year because it’s going to be nine months. So, let’s say late December or early next year.”
Watch Brandon Gibson discuss Jon Jones below: