29-Year-Old UFC Light Heavyweight 22-1-0
April 17, 2017 Jon Jones News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Jones could potentially be granted a title fight by UFC when his suspension for a failed drug test ends this summer, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Roughly one week ago it seemed that Jones wouldn't even have a chance at a main event upon his return, and now the tide has completely turned and it's possible he'll be put on the biggest stage immediately. Of course, if this happens, it means Jones would be facing Daniel Cormier, who currently holds the light heavyweight belt. However, if that doesn't materialize, UFC president Dana White is penciling a matchup between Cormier and Jimi Manuwa sometime this summer, while Bones gets a "tuneup" fight in the meantime.
Jon Jones: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisJones has had his fair share of troubles outside of the octagon, but he remains one of the biggest draws in the sport. Nonetheless, White will double down on his statement from last November when Jones' one-year USADA suspension was originally handed out. That one-year suspension will be over in July, but White and UFC brass will play his return cautiously. Whether Jones fights Daniel Cormier in his return to competition, or instead gets another so-called "tune-up" fight, remains to be seen.
Fantasy AnalysisA bold statement about a fighter that was once the face of the UFC. Jones had a rough week, getting a one-year ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency followed by getting stripped of his interim light heavyweight championship belt. Personal and PED issues have drastically shaken up cards featuring Jones in the main event in the past, but given that Jones is only 30 years old and was once a major draw, the statement may be a bit premature. Only time will tell.
Fantasy AnalysisJones was originally scheduled for a chance to earn back his belt against Daniel Cormier in April, but when Cormier withdrew due to injury, Jones defeated Ovince Saint-Preux to earn the interim strap. Jones and Cormier were then scheduled for a unification bout at UFC 200 in July, but it was Jones who was responsible for this one being called off, this time due to being flagged for a USADA violation. The UFC was likely waiting for an official ruling in Jones' appeal against USADA, and after they announced a one-year ban, the time was right to officially take away the belt. Jones remains his own worst enemy -- he's had a belt stripped from him twice, but never had it taken away in the Octagon.
Fantasy AnalysisJones had attempted to make a case for a reduced suspension via a "tainted supplement" defense, but the arbitration panel ruled that "his degree of fault in fact verged on the reckless" (per MMAFighting.com). As a result, he'll end up with a one-year ban, rather than the six-month suspension awarded to fighters such as Tim Means and Yoel Romero, who each attempted to plead a similar case. On the bright side, the suspension is retroactive to last June, so Jones' time out of the Octagon will be taken into account, making him eligible for reinstatement in July 2017. Jones will only be 30 years old at that time, so the window remains open for arguably the greatest light heavyweight of all-time to return to glory. That being said, his track record of late cancellations will likely make UFC brass very hesitant to book him for a high-profile fight out of the gates.
Fantasy AnalysisJones and his team of lawyers made their case for over 10 hours in Monday's arbitration hearing, and now the former light heavyweight champion is left to play the waiting game. Of course, he and his team are optimistic that his "tainted supplement" defense will result in a reduced or eliminated suspension, but keep in mind that this is the NAC, where reason doesn't always prevail, and anything can truly happen.
Fantasy AnalysisJones' attorneys believe they have isolated the product containing the banned anti-estrogen substances that their client tested positive for, and claim those substances showed up in tests despite not being on the product labels. Clomiphene and Letrozole are the two substances in question, and although they have medical uses, they are on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned substance list because they are commonly used to counteract the less-than-desirable effects of steroids. Based on these alleged findings, Jones may actually have a realistic chance at winning an appeal against USADA. There is at least precedent for this defense, as middleweight Yoel Romero and welterweight Tim Means have each seen a two-year suspension reduced to six months after arguing that the supplement they had ingested was tainted with a banned substance. Since Jones' positive test came prior to UFC 200 in July, a suspension reduction to six months would make him eligible for an early-2017 reinstatement. That being said, he will still need to plead his case with the Nevada Athletic Commission in a Nov. 10 hearing.
Fantasy AnalysisJones had been hoping for a timely resolution to his case, but it now appears the saga will continue for at least another month. The NAC plans to deal with the Conor McGregor water bottle throwing situation at their Monday meeting, and will push back addressing Nate Diaz's role in the aforementioned incident to a future date. The issue of Brock Lesnar's positive tests will be dealt with at a later date as well.
Fantasy AnalysisEver since testing positive for multiple banned substances and getting removed from the UFC 200 main event, Jones has maintained his innocence, insisting that he is unsure how those substances made their way into his system. It's unclear what prompted this post on social media, but Jones likely wouldn't have posted anything if he was still expecting a two-year ban. Recently, fighters such as Tim Means and Yoel Romero have successfully argued a "tainted supplement" defense, and seen their two-year bans reduced to six months. It's unclear at this time if this is the strategy Jones plans to utilize, or if he intends to appeal in search of complete exoneration. While he awaits a decision, the former light heavyweight champion continues to train, as well as deal with past legal issues, recently accepting a plea deal to settle five charges that resulted from a March traffic stop.
Fantasy AnalysisJones' 'B' sample also came back positive after an initial test, and according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the drug was an anti-estrogen substance. It appears the cards are stacked against Jones at the moment, but the pending hearing should provide some concrete information. Barring an unexpected turn of events, Jones will be facing up to a two-year ban from competition. Some indications have suggested Jones' camp is preparing a "tainted supplement" defense, which has gotten other suspensions reduced to six months. It's simply too early to tell at this point.
Fantasy AnalysisThose holding on to hope that Jones' first positive sample was an anomaly are now out of luck. The beleaguered former light heavyweight champion, who was a late removal from the UFC 200 card, continuously asserted during his press conference that he did not knowingly take any banned substances. This story seems to get harder to believe by the day, as the U.S. Anti-Doping agency now has multiple samples to confirm Jones had been using a banned substance. Whether he knew about it or not remains open to interpretation. Barring a successful appeal, Jones is now facing a ban of up to two years from the sport. He's only 28 years old, so this certainly wouldn't be career-ending, but it would significantly tarnish his legacy and cloud the future of the once-heralded light heavyweight division.
Fantasy AnalysisJones had been scheduled for an opportunity to reclaim his light heavyweight championship belt on the UFC's biggest event of the year, but in a devastating blow to the promotion and its fans, his title fight against Daniel Cormier will be removed from the card. Jones will eventually have the opportunity to appeal the decision, but with the July 9 event right around the corner, there won't be enough time to sort out an investigation and appeals process. As of late Wednesday evening, it is unknown which substance Jones has tested positive for, but we do know that the positive sample came from an out of competition test June 16. USADA does not test for recreational drugs out of competition, so early indications suggest potential PED or diuretic use, but Jones will remain innocent until proven guilty. Depending on how the investigation and ensuing appeal process plays out, Jones could find himself facing a suspension ranging from six months to two years. In the meantime, a heavyweight fight between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will replace Jones and Cormier in Saturday's main event.
Fantasy AnalysisJones had been on the medical suspension list following his recent win over Ovince Saint-Preux at UFC 197, but the promotion wouldn't have made this announcement official if his X-rays didn't come back negative. He'll now get the fight that was originally planned for UFC 197 -- a rematch with Daniel "DC" Cormier to win back the light heavyweight strap that he never officially lost in the octagon. Cormier's health had been a question mark as well, but the MRI he underwent Monday must have returned favorable results. Even though DC is technically the champion, Jones will almost certainly enter as the heavy favorite. The former champion was never phased during Saturday's interim title victory, winning all five rounds of the bout. After the fight, Jones claimed to have only used "20 percent" of his technique. He has been preparing for Cormier all along, and as long as everything goes as planned, the two will throw down on the most highly-anticipated card of the year.
Fantasy AnalysisMedical suspensions are technically handed down by the NAC (not the UFC) to ensure the fighters are fully healthy before they step back into the octagon. Jones is potentially facing a six-month layoff if a broken foot is revealed, but if the X-ray comes back negative, that suspension would be lifted. This is big news for both Jones and the UFC, as there has been rampant speculation that Jones would take on Daniel Cormier in a long-anticipated rematch at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9, pending the health of Cormier. It now appears that the health of Jones is arguably as big of a question mark, so stay tuned for more information as the story develops.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was an awkward fight. The crowd wasn't really into it and that came across on television. Jones had his dominating moments, most of them in the second half of the fight, but he looked a bit rusty in his return to the octagon. Jones told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview that he felt he did a lot of "watching instead of reacting" during the fight, which sums up his effort pretty well. Jones looked fine physically, which is the most important thing. It just wasn't the dominating effort that we see from Jones in virtually all of his performances. Jones' next fight is going to be against Daniel Cormier for the undisputed UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Expect to see a much better version of Bones in that fight. Even with the uneven effort Saturday, Jones is going to be a healthy favorite for the DC rematch when the Vegas odds are released.
Fantasy AnalysisJones stated that he accepted this last-minute replacement opponent as a favor to his fans, but the truth of the matter is that after nearly a year and a half on the sidelines, sitting on the sidelines for any longer would have done more harm than good. Other than his title defense against Alexander Gustafsson in September 2013, Jones is yet to be challenged in any of his other 13 UFC fights. By all accounts, Jones has been training like an animal during his suspension and he is in the best shape of his life. Verbally sparring with Daniel Cormier in the days leading up to the fight could very well throw other fighters off their game, but Jones is so good that it’s doubtful it impacts him in any way. The most likely scenario here is Jones rolling through OSP and facing Cormier for the title once again later this year.
Fantasy AnalysisCormier, the light heavyweight champion, had to back out of the fight because of an injury. Jones and St. Preux will fight for the interim title. Jones, who just completed his probation hearing, will be able to travel and fight after a drag racing citation.
Fantasy AnalysisThe real concern with this hearing, with respect to the fighting career of Jones, is whether or not any travel restrictions would be handed down. The former light heavyweight champion appears to have avoided that consequence, and will not be subject to a curfew either, though he will be unable to drive. As a result, his scheduled bout with Daniel Cormier on April 23 in Las Vegas does not appear to be in jeopardy. That being said, even the slightest mishap on the part of Jones at this point could land him in some real hot water.
Fantasy AnalysisPer a statement released by the UFC on Wednesday, the promotion is aware of the incident, but is continuing to gather all of the facts. A body cam video of the traffic stop interaction between Jones and the police officer surfaced Tuesday, where Jones vehemently denies any wrongdoing, and claims to be the victim of harassment. It's an all-too-familiar scenario for Jones, who remains on probation due to a hit-and-run incident last April. The "drag racing" citations alone wouldn't be serious, as the the officer allowed him to drive away from the scene, but the fact he is on probation leaves the door open for potential consequences. Jones is scheduled for a comeback fight against Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title on April 23, though this bout doesn't appear to be in jeopardy just yet, According to Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com, Jones is scheduled to appear in court Thursday morning, after which more details of the severity of the situation should surface.
Fantasy AnalysisJones is currently in the midst of an 18-month probation sentence, so when he was pulled over and cited Jan. 31 for the infraction, there had been a possibility for additional legal repercussions. That won't come to pass, however, as no formal probation violation will be filled, according to the public information officer from the Second Judicial District Attorney's office (via FOX Sports). Although the incident is gaining extra attention due to Jones' legal history, it doesn't sound like it will have any effect on his status with the UFC. His fight against Daniel Cormier, scheduled for UFC 197 on April 23, will go on as planned.
Fantasy AnalysisWe all knew that this announcement was coming and now we have an official date for the rematch between the two men. Jones won the first fight, but he then was forced to vacate his title after his legal issues last year. By the time the fight rolls around, it will be Jones' first bout in nearly 16 months. By all accounts, Jones is in terrific shape and can't wait to get back into the octagon. He is an early -350 betting favorite for the rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisWhite disclosed this information in a somewhat candid interview, so although it isn't an official announcement from the promotion, the organization's president is a pretty reliable source. Jones has dealt with a flurry of personal and legal issues over the last calendar year, but continues to train out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The last time he saw the Octagon was against Daniel Cormier on Jan. 3, 2015, where he won a unanimous decision. Cormier has since beat Anthony Johnson for the interim light heavyweight title, and successfully defended his belt against Alexander Gustafsson last October. A venue or date has yet to be announced for the long-anticipated rematch.
Fantasy AnalysisJones was recently reinstated by the UFC after being cleared of any potential felony charges and jail time, but the promotion has yet to schedule the first bout of the former champion's return. The prevailing theory is that he'll immediately receive a chance to challenge Daniel "DC" Cormier for the belt that was awarded in his absence, but there is no immediate timetable for that fight. Instead, Cormier will take the holidays off and resume discussions at the beginning of 2016. It's currently unclear if Jones willing to wait that out, or potentially consider a tune-up fight in the meantime. The 28-year-old hasn't seen the octagon since defeating Cormier by unanimous decision back on Jan. 3.
Fantasy AnalysisJones first fight back in the Octagon is still to be decided as of now. He was suspended after he was arrested for a part in a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico. In his absence, Daniel Cormier won and defended Jones' title as the former champion battled legal issues. Jones has been promised a title shot with his return and will face Daniel Cormier for the belt.
Fantasy AnalysisJones has been given 18 months of supervised probation, during which he will be required to make 72 charity and/or speaking appearances. He was granted a conditional discharge by the judge under those terms, and has effectively avoided felony charges. Legally, Jones is now free to return to professional fighting at any point. The ball is now in the UFC's court, as president Dana White and company will soon be pressured to make a decision on reinstatement. Upon Jones returning, he should receive an immediate opportunity to regain his light heavyweight title. Currently, Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson are set to square off in the octagon Saturday at UFC 192 for that belt. It's entirely possible that the winner will see Jones in their next bout.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to the Bernalillo Country DA spokesperson, the department is still awaiting key evidence before officially bringing the case to the grand jury, but DA Kari Bradenburg "anticipates" it will happen. If it does end up getting that far, the jury could then choose to indict Jones, or dismiss the case altogether. He stands accused of a felony hit-and-run, a case that forced the UFC to strip him of his light heavyweight title and pull him from UFC 187. Although Jones is expected to get another title shot immediately upon returning to the promotion, a timeline for this bout is yet to be determined. A decision on an indictment is merely the first step.
Fantasy AnalysisUFC President Dana White announced the news Wednesday on the Jim Rome radio show. Jones had been one of the most dominant champions in recent memory, so the news shouldn't really come as a surprise. When Jones will return to the UFC from his indefinite suspension is anyone's guess. Most experts seem to think he won't step in to the octagon again until at least next summer. Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier will fight on Saturday for Jones' vacated light heavyweight championship.
Fantasy AnalysisIt's obviously major news, but it's not like the UFC really had much choice in this matter. Jones is potentially facing a felony charge and he tested positive for cocaine after a drug test in early December. The UFC simply cannot allow their biggest star to continue to be the face of the company until all of his legal issues are in order and he has gotten his life back together. It's anyone's guess when that may happen. Jones is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the entire world and he was probably the UFC's most recognizable mainstream athlete. It's a massive blow for both the promotion and obviously, for Jones personally.
Fantasy AnalysisJones appeared in court Tuesday, and will be charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injuries. He has yet to enter a plea or speak in court, and there are no future court dates set at this time. Since the incident occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and UFC 187 is scheduled in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jones' attorneys were able to successfully request that no travel restrictions are placed on their client. Although it will be feasible for him to participate in that scheduled fight, the UFC will continue to gather facts before issuing any type of statement. Bones is arguably the most recognizable athlete in the promotion, and losing him would be a major hit for the UFC in what was building up to be one of the bigger events of the year. Look for an official determination to be released as further details unfold.