It’s been nearly three years since fight fans have watched “Bones” step inside the Octagon. His last contest took place in February 2020 at UFC 247 when he edged Dominick Reyes on the scorecards via unanimous decision.
The match marked the end of Jones’ 205-pound title reign as he vacated the belt a few months later, announcing a move north to heavyweight.
All signs point toward Jones making his anticipated debut in the weight class in 2023 and the Frenchman would love to welcome him with closed fists. “Where you at @JonnyBones?” Gane asked via Twitter on January 12. “I’m free this March, Vegas.”
Is Jones vs. Gane for the Interim Heavyweight Title a Possibility for the UFC 285 Main Event?
Gane versus Jones would undoubtedly be a pay-per-view main event. So, if “Bon Gamin” is eyeing Las Vegas, Nevada, he’s likely hoping to battle Bones at UFC 285 on March 4 — an event that has yet to receive a headlining act.
Further, with the state of reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s UFC contract unknown — he was poised to become a free agent — the promotion introducing an interim championship has been a talking point in the MMA community. Bones hasn’t said much about his return recently but on January 3 he tweeted: “#Champion2023,” stamping his intentions of fighting for heavyweight gold this year.
Ngannou’s Head Coach Eric Nicksick Wants to See Ngannou vs. Jones in March
As mentioned, Ngannou’s dealings with the UFC are unclear. After he defeated Gane at UFC 270 in January 2022, “The Predator” underwent knee surgery which has left him on the sidelines. And before the bout, a major storyline going in was the state of Ngannou’s contract. Specifically, Ngannou only had one match left on his deal, and if he waited out the year, the heavyweight king said he’d become a free agent.
And with a recent photo of Ngannou’s loved one wearing a Professional Fighters League t-shirt making the rounds online, The Predator’s spot on the roster is still being questioned. Well, Ngannou’s head coach Eric Nicksick spoke with MMA Fighting about Ngannou potentially fighting Bones for the title in March, which he said had a “50-50” chance of happening.
“I think it’s 50-50, to be honest with you, when you’re talking business and timeline,” Nicksick said. “I’m confident from what I saw from Francis a couple of weeks ago that if we had to be ready for March, I think we can get him ready, but I think it is cutting it a little bit short because he had to go back home and renew his visa.
“And then obviously they still haven’t announced anything yet with his contract and where they’re at, so 50-50 for me. I’m hoping for this thing, fingers crossed that we can get this deal done. If it’s not March, maybe it’s April or May, or something like that. I do know that they’re shooting for March and that Jon Jones is the opponent. Everything else is out of my hands, but if they tell me, ‘Hey, we’re fighting March 4,’ we’ll have our guy ready, that’s for sure.”