Thursday, June 30, 2022

Jon Jones says he’s willing to wait for interim heavyweight title bout against Stipe Miocic until September

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Jon Jones is determined to make his UFC comeback in July and he does not want to wait around much longer. Jones has planned a move to heavyweight for more than two years and it appears the clock is ticking toward his imminent return.

A matchup between Jones, the longest-reigning UFC light heavyweight champion in history, and Stipe Miocic, the most accomplished UFC heavyweight champion in history, was rumored for the main event of UFC’s PPV during International Fight Week. Jones recently tweeted that a matchup against Miocic was indeed in the works, but that his potential opponent would not be ready until September.

“Stipe is saying that he will be at his absolute peak in September,” Jones wrote on Tuesday. “I’m disappointed but patient, I want the heavyweight [G.O.A.T.] at his absolute best. I’ll wait until September. No excuses.”

Richard Schaefer, who serves as Jones’ adviser, recently confirmed that Jones vs. Miocic was in discussion. The corresponding fight card was expected to be UFC 276 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 2. Schaefer stated that Jones will wait no later than September for Miocic and would be willing to fight anyone in July so long as it is for the interim UFC heavyweight championship.

“We just want to fight for the heavyweight title,” Schaefer told ESPN. “Jon doesn’t give a shit against who. As long as it’s for the title. He’s been waiting, he’s been training. He’s mentally and physically ready.

“We would not want to sit around another two months and now we’re talking December.”

The need for an interim UFC heavyweight title follows ongoing friction between undisputed champion Francis Ngannou and the UFC. Ngannou recently appeared in the ring with WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and teased a crossover mixed rules fight in 2023.

Jones (26-1, 1 NC) has not competed in MMA since a disputed unanimous decision win against Dominick Reyes to defend the UFC light heavyweight championship in February 2020. He later vacated the title to build toward his move up to heavyweight. Miocic (20-4) last competed in March 2021, losing his heavyweight title to Ngannou.

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