LAS VEGAS – Jon Jones has yet to fight in heavyweight. But the former longtime UFC light heavyweight champion told ESPN Thursday night he weighs 255 pounds right now and plans to hit 270 pounds before his heavyweight debut he wants to make. against the winner of Francis Ngannou against Ciryl Gane.
The heavyweight limit is 265 pounds, so the 6-foot-4 Jones would reduce those last 5 pounds for the weigh-in day. Jones is the greatest champion in light heavyweight division history, weighing in at 205 pounds for those fights.
“I just don’t want to feel smaller than any of the guys,” Jones said before his first fight with Alexander Gustafsson in 2013 to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. “I want to be more conditioned, more skilled and just as strong, if not the stronger guy.”
Jones hasn’t fought since retaining the UFC light heavyweight title with a win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February 2020. Jones left the belt in August 2020 with a view to passing to heavy goods vehicles. Since then the all-time great has lifted weights and tried to gain weight to become a real heavyweight.
“Going from a lightweight to a heavyweight is like jumping three weight classes,” Jones said. “I just want to do it right.”
Jones was on hold, it seemed, to fight for the heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic or Ngannou earlier this year. Ngannou knocked out Miocic to win the belt at UFC 260 in March. But the UFC was unable to come to terms with Jones over a title fight with Ngannou, which led Jones to hire prominent boxing promoter Richard Schaefer as an advisor in a bid to close the bargaining gap.
Since then, Gane has beaten Derrick Lewis to win the interim heavyweight title, setting up a Ngannou fight against Gane. Jones said he heard the fight will take place in January, so he plans to fight the undisputed title winner in the second quarter of 2022.
“I admit Francis is more important when it comes to the financial side,” Jones said. “But it’s okay. I want the belt, really. I want the belt, I want a lot of money.”
UFC President Dana White said in August he was interested in a Jones vs. Miocic heavyweight fight, which would pit the best fighters in heavyweight and light heavyweight history against each other. Jones has said he’s interested in this fight, but it won’t be his first choice.
“I am open to ideas,” Jones said. “I’ve been fighting for so many years at this point, looking to make as much money as possible, if I’m being honest. I’m fighting for the legacy and I know that beating Stipe Miocic will be huge for my legacy. right now he doesn’t have the belt and he’s not the most famous heavyweight. I’m just looking to get mainstream America excited about MMA and the heavyweight division.… Big, megafights. “
Ngannou against Jones for the heavyweight title would be exactly that. It’s one of the biggest fights the UFC can put on right now. Jones, however, said that was not his ultimate goal.
“I think it would be a really exciting fight for sure,” Jones said. “Personally, I feel like I’ve fought guys who are a lot tougher, a lot more skilled and versatile. Better conditioned. But as far as the excitement for the fans, the general public? be a big fight. Whether it’s Francis or Ciryl – whoever it is – I just wanna be a champion again. Well, heavyweight champion. I’m still the champion, but I just wanna be the heavyweight champion. “