Jon Jones is back; or, at least, reinstated. In an October 23 announcement, the Ultimate Fighting Championship declared its former light heavyweight champion’s return is imminent.
“Effectively immediately, Jones is eligible to return to competition. As such, UFC expects Jones to meet all of the terms of his plea agreement, including mandatory community service, as a condition of his reinstatement.
UFC is currently discussing with Jones a potential date for his return to the Octagon.”
Jones was suspended, indefinitely, several months ago following his involvement in a hit-and-run accident. It was later learned that marijuana was found in his car after the crash. This ugly scandal hardly reflected well on the UFC, nevermind the then-champion Jon Jones. The 28-year-old MMA fighter was sent packing, with a few people thinking this would be the last we heard from him.
— TopicSports (@TopicSports) October 24, 2015
Some Jones fans continued to clamor for his return, a cry that grew decidedly louder after rival Daniel Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson to claim the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship. When the interim champion learned that Jon Jones had been reinstated, he reportedly declared, “This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time.”
Although Daniel refused to comment through his PR agent, the UFC fighter shared his thoughts via Facebook.
“Congrats to Jon ‘Bones’ Jones on his reinstatement to the UFC. For MMA fans, this is a good day. A guy that has shown to be one of the greatest fighters of all time is back. [With] that being said, I can’t wait to compete against him again.”
The question now is whether or not Jon Jones will be immediately be given the chance to win the Light Heavyweight title from his long-time rival. It’s not likely. First, Jon Jones has to commit to fulfilling all the obligations of his plea agreement. That’s something UFC officials intend to make sure he does so before any fights come his way.
“We’ve made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right,” said UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. “…There are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward.”
“We’re happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person.”
Jon Jones commented on his Facebook page about being reinstated. The former champ declared he is “grateful for the opportunity” to once again fight in the Octagon.
“I am blessed and humbled by the continued support of the MMA community, and I can’t thank my fans enough for their unwavering support through my ups and downs. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life and my career and let me assure you, the best is yet to come.”
Some are betting it’s going to be a while before that “best” does come around. Even so, the hype for a rematch between former champion Jon Jones and current champion Daniel Cormier is already building. Some feel that despite Cormier winning and ably defending the Light Heavyweight Championship belt, he’s only a glorified placeholder for Jon Jones. These fans believe that Jon Jones, whenever he is given the opportunity, will very quickly take back his spot at the top of his division.
This sentiment is a serious underestimation of Daniel Cormier, who will most definitely put up a fight to hold onto a position he’s prized for a long time.
— Sherdog.com (@sherdogdotcom) October 24, 2015
What do you think? Will Jon Jones ever be UFC champion again? Will Daniel Cormier hold on to the Light Heavyweight Championship for a long time? Share your thoughts below!
[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Reebok]