Jon Jones could be vying for the belt he lost in the near future. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has reinstated Jon Jones, making the ex-light heavyweight champion eligible to compete immediately, the promotion announced on Friday.
Jones was suspended indefinitely and stripped of the 205-pound title in April after he was arrested for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run accident. Last month, Jones entered a guilty plea in Albuquerque, N.M.’s Second Judicial District Court and received 18 months’ probation. As part of his probation, Jones is required to make 72 appearances doing charity work and speaking with children. As long as he meets the conditions of his sentence, there will be no felony conviction.
So far that doesn’t appear to be an issue, as Jones recently posted a picture on his Twitter account of him visiting kids throughout the Albuquerque area:
Great meeting with the kids of ABQ today! pic.twitter.com/QpVPiysV27— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) October 16, 2015
“We've made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward," UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “We’re happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person.”
According to the UFC release, the promotion is currently in discussions with the Jackson-Wink MMA representative regarding a date for his Octagon return.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to resume my career and I am excited to show how much I've grown as a person outside of the Octagon,” Jones said in a statement on Facebook. “It took me losing almost everything I had worked for to realize how much I had. I am blessed and humbled by the continued support of the MMA community and I can't thank my fans enough for their unwavering support through my ups and downs. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life and my career and let me assure you, the best is yet to come.”
Jones last appeared at UFC 182 on Jan. 3, when he defended the light heavyweight strap with a five-round verdict over rival Daniel Cormier at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Cormier has since captured the vacated belt with a third-round submission of Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. UFC President Dana White previously said that Jones would receive an immediate title shot upon his return.