It appears that Jon Jones willbe able to pick up right where he left off when he is able toreturn to active competition this summer.
According to UFC President Dana White, the Las Vegas-basedpromotion would be willing to grant Jones an immediate lightheavyweight title shot against DanielCormier at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif. TheJackson-Wink MMA standout is serving a USADA-mandated suspensionfor testing positive for the banned substances clomiphene andletrozole during an out-of-competition drug screen prior to UFC200. He is eligible to return on July 6.
“Cormier is available to fight on July 8, but that time framedoesn’t work for Jon Jones ,”White told ESPN.com on Monday. “Cormier already told me he’s willing tofight either Jones or [Jimi] Manuwa.
“If Jon Jones is ready to fight [by UFC 214] on July 29, we’ll seethe Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally.”
Jones has only fought once in the last two years since defeatingCormier via unanimous decision in their first meeting at UFC 182 onJan. 3, 2015. “Bones” was booked to rematch Cormier at UFC 197before Cormier withdrew from the bout due to injury. They werescheduled to square off again at UFC 200, but Jones’ failed drugtest nixed the bout at the last minute.
Jones was stripped of the belt and suspended by the UFC after beingarrested for fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run accident inAlbuquerque, N.M., in April 2015. Cormier then claimed the vacantlight heavyweight strap with a third-round submission of AnthonyJohnson at UFC 187. “DC” has since made successful titledefenses against AlexanderGustafsson at UFC 192 and Johnson again at UFC 210. He alsooutpointed AndersonSilva at UFC 200, a non-title bout that was put together justdays before the event after Jones was pulled from the card.
If Jones is ready to fight for a title at UFC 214, it is unclearwhere his bout vs. Cormier would land on the card. At the UFC 210post-fight press conference, White said that Jones would not bescheduled for a main event upon his return because of his recentunreliability.
Manuwa, meanwhile, has won three of his last four bouts, includingback-to-back knockout victories over CoreyAnderson and Ovince St.Preux . The British slugger and Cormier have engaged in a few verbal sparring sessions on Twitter recently.
“Jimi wants Cormier,” White told ESPN. “They got into it at UFC 210and Jimi told me he’s never been talked to like that before. We’llsee how this plays out.”