Jon Jones wanted an active 2019, and it appears that he will get a quick start on achieving his three-fight goal this year.
UFC President Dana White told TMZ Sports late Saturday night that Jones will defend his light heavyweight belt against Anthony Smith in the UFC 235 headliner.
"Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the [Nevada Athletic Commmission] in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2,” White told TMZ Sports.
"Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five-round main event at the T-Mobile Arena.”
Jones matchup with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 was moved from Las Vegas to California on a week’s notice when the NAC refused to license Jones due to a drug test abnormality. Jones tested positive for trace amounts of the anabolic steroid Turinabol prior to the fight, but it was determined that was due to remaining effects of his failed drug test in July 2017. “Bones” is scheduled to appear at an evidentiary hearing before the NAC on Jan. 29, and if all goes well, he will receive his license to compete at UFC 235.
Jones defeated Gustafsson via third-round technical knockout to capture the vacant 205-pound belt in the UFC 232 headliner. The Jackson-Wink MMA product improved to 23-1 with one no contest in victory.
Smith, meanwhile, has benefitted from a recent move from middleweight to light heavyweight. Since changing divisions, “Lionheart” has earned finishes of Volkan Oezdemir, Mauricio Rua and Rashad Evans. The 30-year-old is 31-13 over the course of a career that began in 2008.