Jon Jones Mentions Two Potential Dates in 2022 for UFC Heavyweight Debut
Jon Jones has been on the sidelines since February 2020, but if all goes as planned, the former UFC light heavyweight champion will be ready to return to action next year.
In an interview with Albuquerque, N.M.-based station KRQE, Jones targeted two potential dates to make his heavyweight debut. In the meantime, “Bones” will be an interested observer when Francis Ngannou squares off against Ciryl Gane in a title unification bout at UFC 270 on Jan. 22.
“I’m looking to fight somewhere in April, possibly Madison Square Garden, or a total opposite date, possibly July at International Fight Week,” Jones said. “Those are the two dates that I’m kind of eyeing. I think it’ll depend on who wins in January between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and we’ll just take it from there.”
In the wake of his arrest for an alleged domestic violence incident, Jones was banned from his longtime training home, Jackson-Wink MMA at the behest of owner Mike Winkeljohn. He has kept ties in Albuquerque with coaches like Greg Jackson and Brandon Gibson while training at Jackson’s MMA Acoma, but he has also been working out at Fight Ready in Arizona.
When asked about the potential of a reunion with his old team, Jones took the high road, a departure from a since-deleted social media rant about Winkeljohn last week.
“Winkeljohn and I have had a great relationship over the years, we’ve done a lot of awesome things together, we’ve made a lot of money together, brought a lot of championships to the city of Albuquerque,” Jones said. “It’s been a wonderful journey. I do believe everything kind of has its time. It’s been a good thing. I’ll always root for Wink. I want him to do well, I want his athletes to do well. But I think I’ve had my time with him. It’s just time for new chapters.”
“I’m really excited with this new move to Arizona. I’m still working with Greg Jackson and most of the coaches out here in New Mexico. I’m just excited for new things.”
Jones has notably been working with former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo at Fight Ready. Jones had high praise for Cejudo, who announced his retirement from the sport following a victory over Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May 2020.
“It’s amazing. Henry Cejudo is amazing,” Jones said. “He’s very family-oriented. He loves martial arts with all of his heart, and he’s a man of God, as well. We have that in common. It’s just a really good thing. I really enjoy the way he’s taken me under his wing and just shown me a different way of looking at the game. Not just the martial arts game, but the game of life. We talk about happiness and being real with emotions. His coaching is more than just combat tactics. He really tries to make you the best man you can be.
“It really feels like he’s a guy that I need to be around. I’m excited to grow. I’m excited to be more honest with myself than ever before and just elevate to a new place – a new place not only as an athlete, but spiritually and mentally. I’m excited.”
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