Dana White’s opinion on the UFC’s best fighter seems to change on a monthly basis, often conveniently in conjunction with the arrival of the company’s next pay-per-view.
However, during an appearance on ESPN’s ”First Take” on Thursday, White offered high praise for a fighter whose Octagon return could still be months away. Like many others, the UFC President has been impressed with Jon Jones’ recent progress in the gym, and he believes that hard work could make the ex-light heavyweight champ more dangerous than ever before.
“So he’s actually doing really well. I don’t know if you follow him on Instagram, but he’s been in the gym. You won’t believe him when you see him. He has completely transformed. This guy is jacked. He’s been lifting; like power lifting. He’s huge right now,” White said.
“He’ll still be a light heavyweight, but he’s planning on making that move to heavyweight, he definitely is. Jones looks awesome. He’s one of those freakish kind of athletes. He might be the best that’s ever done it, the best that’s ever been in the game. Look at his brothers. [Chandler Jones] is having an incredible season with the Patriots. He’s a freak of nature, this guy can do anything. It’s good to have his head clear. Trust me, I’d rather see him in the gym than...you know.”
Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight title and indefinitely suspended by the Las Vegas-based promotion earlier this year for his involvement in an alleged hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, N.M. “Bones” was reinstated after striking a plea agreement that sentenced him to 18 months’ probation and required the New York native to make 72 appearances doing charity work and speaking with children.
“It’s never good when bad things happen, but at the end of the day, I don’t care what sport you’re talking about or any other walk of life -- everybody’s human,” White said. “People are gonna make mistakes. It’s gonna happen. We deal with them, we roll with the punches. I think it matters more how we deal with these situations when they happen than when the thing is actually happening.”
While a date for Jones’ next UFC appearance has yet to be confirmed, the Jackson-Wink MMA representative recently hinted at an April 23 return in a social media post.