On July 7, just two days before his scheduled light heavyweight championship fight with Daniel Cormier, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that Jon Jones had failed a pre-fight drug test that was administered on June 16. He was then pulled from the card and replaced by UFC legend Anderson "The Spider" Silva, who ended up losing to Cormier via unanimous decision.
Fans later learned that Jones tested positive for clomiphene, which is an estrogen blocker typically used by an athlete coming off of a steroid cycle. Jones, who has spoken out against performance-enhancing drug use many times in the past, claimed that he wasn't taking PEDs leading up to his fight with Cormier and that the drug that caused him to his USADA test was an off-brand male enhancement pill.
After his failure, Jones, who was 28 at the time, was facing a two-year suspension. But, after an arbitration hearing with the USADA, the now-former UFC light heavyweight champion was hit with a one-year ban, which means that he'll be able to return to fighting in July of 2017.
On Thursday, Jones did his first interview since his drug test failure, as he appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. He talked at-length about his past issues with alcohol and marijuana, his hit-and-run accident, and what caused him to fail his drug test leading up to his rematch with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. He seemed to be in good spirits, and he was quite optimistic that he's going to be able to get his belt back when he returns to the Octagon in July.
You can check out a 20-minute clip from the two-hour interview below. In the clip, Jones gives Rogan all the details of his failed drug test, and he tells him why the USADA decided to knock his suspension down to a year.
Jones also discussed a potential move to heavyweight on the podcast, which is something that he has thought about doing for the last couple of years.
"I would like another weight class to be added when it comes to us big boys. Something like a 225 pound weight class. I believe if there was a 225 pound weight class, I'd be a two-belt holder myself. It'd be great to see something that bridges the gap between 205 and 265.
"A lot of people are like 'why don't you go up to heavyweight and try to win the belt there?' Do you realize what you're asking me to do? These guys are very skilled, and they can weight 60 pounds more than me. That's very dangerous. I do want to challenge for the heavyweight title, but I'm waiting for the perfect opponent."
If he does move to heavyweight at some point in the future, Jones says he doesn't plan to put on any weight, and that he'll fight at his normal walk around weight, which is between 230 and 235 pounds. Of course, most heavyweights weigh in the neighborhood of 250, so he'd definitely be the smaller man in most fights in the UFC's heavyweight division.
It's unclear if Jones will get a shot at the light heavyweight title in his first fight back. Several weeks ago, UFC president Dana White said he would never book Jones in a main event title fight on a pay-per-view ever again. However, White has said a lot of things in the past that haven't turned out to be true, most notably when he denied that Brock Lesnar would be returning to the Octagon at UFC 200, just one day before it was announced that Lesnar would, in fact, fight at UFC 200. While White has his qualms with booking Jones in a pay-per-view main event, he'll likely be forced to do so at some point in 2017.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]