UFC 247 Jon Jones

Jon Jones hints he could retire after Stipe Miocic fight, unless Francis Ngannou returns to the UFC

Former UFC light heavyweight champion and current reigning heavyweight champion Jon Jones could be preparing to hang up the gloves sooner rather than later. After his long-awaited heavyweight debut, Jones became champion with a quick, two-minute finish over Ciryl Gane and claimed the vacant heavyweight title and set the stage for a superfight between Jones and former champion, Stipe Miocic.

Since then, the two have gone back-and-forth on social media over the timing of their future fight, with each blaming the other for why it isn’t happening sooner than later. There is currently no date set for the two to fight, but it is expected to be at some point in the Fall later this year. Miocic has not fought since losing his title to Francis Ngannou in 2021, but the former champion has the most title defenses in the history of the division and is considered the greatest heavyweight champion of all-time.

Inside the UFC’s heavyweight division is a plethora of young and rising talent, including top contender Sergei Pavlovich who just cemented his place as a future title contender with his sixth consecutive first-round finish, defeating Curtis Blaydes by TKO. Despite the rise of Pavlovich and others chomping at the bit to potentially face Jones in a title fight, the defending champion believes he could calling it a career after his fight with Miocic.

During an interview with Fox Sports Australia, Jon Jones said his current plan is to fight Miocic at Madison Square Garden and then likely hang up his gloves after their fight.

“Right now, my goal is to have one more big fight against Stipe Miocic, Madison Square Garden, and then kinda hang it up from there. (H/T MMA Junkie)

Even though the plan for Jones seems to be retirement after a fight with Miocic later this year, there is one fighter that could entice the current champion to stick around. That name is former champion and current free agent fighter, Francis Ngannou, who left the UFC after they could not agree to contract terms. It was Ngannou’s departure that set the stage for Jones to face Gane for the world title at UFC 285 earlier this year, and while the former champion has explored his options looking at a potential boxing match or signing with another MMA promotion, nothing has come to fruition just yet.

With no new landing spot for Ngannou, Jon Jones said that if Ngannou were to return to the UFC, that would be a fight that puts a hold on the retirement plans. Jones would acknowledge Pavlovich but added a fight against him wouldn’t interest him much, if at all.

“I do believe a Francis Ngannou fight would be worth entertaining not retiring. I think a Francis fight would come with some serious revenue and that would make it worth my while. Francis is a former champion, he’s pretty damn popular here in America and across the world. It would bring in a lot of money and for that I would be willing to come back. Everyone is talking about Sergei, and Sergei is a huge challenge but no one knows who he is.”

It’s clear that Jon Jones has a plan in place for his upcoming future, and despite the fact that he signed a six-fight prior to his fight against Gane, the heavyweight champion’s time could be coming to an end sooner than later.

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