The newly crowned UFC heavyweight champion once again sits atop the pound-for-pound rankings, but Jon Jones may not be here to stay.
A three-year hiatus and many new faces and champions in the UFC since Jones vacated his light heavyweight title, did not slow him down from submitting Ciryl Gane in just minutes, a fighter who’s never been finished before.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, his veteran coach Brandon Gibson did not hesitate at suggesting Jon Jones’ illustrious career may soon come to a close, regardless of his brief time at heavyweight.
“I think Jon’s (Jones) going to be one of those athletes that walks away early,” Gibson explained. “He’s going to walk away early, I think so. I think Jon will ride off into the sunset, and us, as MMA fans, will still be clamoring for one more or talking about potential matchups.”
This may come as a surprise to some, but during the UFC 285 post-fight press conference, both Dana White and Jon Jones himself said that they don’t really have a plan for the future, and all he knows is that he has at least one more fight left in him.
While he may only be 35, which is often a common age in the heavyweight division, Jones has been a recognizable face in the UFC since his debut in 2008, becoming the youngest-ever champion at 23, a record which still stands to this day.
Making easy work of several iconic UFC legends throughout his journey, with an incredible 15-0 record in UFC title fights, Jones has undoubtedly cemented himself as the greatest fighter we have ever seen.
As for who that next opponent may be, Jones made it clear in his post-fight scrum that he’s only thinking about a fight with Stipe Miocic, a man who he declared as the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Gibson says he and Jones’ team are in favour of this matchup, and fully support the idea of returning as soon as July.
“I think it would’ve been a different conversation if [Jones] would’ve been in any way injured or scathed on Saturday night, but he said he was more sore (sic) from the warmup than the fight.”
The now 40-year-old Miocic was in attendance at UFC 285 and he entertained the idea of fighting Jon Jones to regain his title, which was taken from him by Francis Ngannou in 2021.
When asked if defeating Miocic was worthy enough to hang up the gloves, Gibson says that although he thinks Jones will soon be retired, the mood within the camp is overly positive, and the possibilities of what’s to come are limitless.
“I don’t know. He has a lot of fire, I think he has a lot of motivation, and I’ll leave that up to Jon,” Gibson said. “I think this time away was really good for him, and us as a team.”
Will Jon Jones’ journey come to an end sooner than we think?