Jon Jones CONFIRMS heavyweight title fight against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285!
Jon “Bones” Jones is finally set to return to the octagon and challenge for the heavyweight strap. The former UFC light heavyweight champion, who hasn’t competed since 2020, will fight former interim heavyweight champion and current No. 1 contender Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 on March 4.
Rumurs of the massive bout started circulating online as a seemingly official fight banner appeared on the outside of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, suggesting the title fight was a done deal.
For what it's worth, two different photos of this UFC 285 billboard are circulating.
Jones vs. Gane for the heavyweight championship at UFC 285 would be incredible. pic.twitter.com/3aieyynDdk
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) January 14, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Jones himself confirmed that he’s fighting Gane (via Henry Cejudo’s YouTube channel).
Francis Ngannou stripped of heavyweight title?
The news would suggest that the reigning Francis Ngannou will be stripped of his heavyweight title as there’s no indication that Jones and Gane would fight for an interim title, but rather for the undisputed belt. Originally, the UFC’s plan was to have Jones challenge Ngannou for his title.
Multiple reports recently stated that Ngannou, who’s been in contract negotiations with the UFC, has not yet come to terms with the promotions and is approaching free agency as his current deal is about to expire.
However, Ngannou being sidelined and potentially having to vacate his title doesn’t necessarily have to do with his contract status. The heavyweight champ also has a knee injury that’s kept him out of competition since defending his title against Gane in January of last year. A similar situation happened in the light heavyweight division recently, where the former champion Jiri Prochazka vacated his belt due to injury in order to not hold up the division.
Jon Jones teased heavyweight move over ten years ago
Jon Jones, one of the most dominant UFC champions of all time, last defended his light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes, winning a controversial unanimous decision back in February of 2020. “Bones” first won the 205 pound strap in March of 2011 when he defeated former champion and PRIDE legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a vicious TKO to claim the throne as the UFC’s youngest-ever champion.
Since then, Jones has never lost his belt in the octagon. However, he’s been stripped of the title multiple times due to a number of issues outside of the cage, including criminal convictions as well as a USADA suspension.
Over ten years ago, Jones started teasing a future move to heavyweight as he eyed a second UFC title. Now it looks like he’s finally ready to make that that move.
Ciryl Gane certainly won’t be an easy task, though. The Frenchman has a UFC record of 8-1 with his only loss being to Ngannou by decision. Most recently, Gane scored a knockout against Tai Tuivasa after a highly-entertaining bout in Paris back in September.
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