Even though his most recent transgression sabotaged the UFC 200 main event, Jon Jones will probably receive an immediate light heavyweight title shot when he returns to action this summer.
The former 205-pound king is currently serving a one-year suspension for testing positive for the banned substances clomiphene and letrozole during an out-of-competition drug test administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency prior to his title bout against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.
Jones will be eligible to return to the Octagon on July 6. Meanwhile, Cormier will defend his light heavyweight crown against Anthony Johnson at UFC 210 on April 8 in Buffalo. While UFC President Dana White has questioned Jones’ reliability in the past, he still seems to think the most logical step would be to give “Bones” a chance to reclaim 205-pound gold when his suspension concludes.
“Jon Jones is supposed to return around July so the timing is perfect. I haven’t talked to him. I haven’t talked to Jon Jones since the whole incident (at UFC 200). Depending on where Jon’s head is and where he thinks he is, I would assume he would come right back and try to get his title back,” White said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast.
Jones last appeared at UFC 197 last April, when he took a five-round verdict against Ovince St. Preux to capture the interim championship. Prior to that, he outpointed Cormier at UFC 182 in their first meeting. Considering Jones’ impressive resume, White says it doesn’t make sense for him to get a tune-up fight before challenging for the belt.
“If you’re going to go in there and give it, at least go in and try to get your belt back,” White said. “It’s like everyone was saying Ronda [Rousey] should have had a tune up [fight]. There are no tune-up fights. “When you break into the top five in the world, everybody’s nasty. What you don’t want to do is lose to somebody [ranked] 8, 9, 10. It knocks you right out of the top 10 and it doesn’t make sense.”