Daniel Cormier appears to have changed his opinion on Jon Jones’ highly-anticipated UFC heavyweight debut.
Jon Jones has not stepped foot inside the Octagon since his light heavyweight title defense against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 nearly three years ago. In the months following the victory, Jones vacated the title and announced he would be making a move to the heavyweight division. 27 months after that announcement, fans are still waiting for his return.
During an appearance on ‘The MMA Hour‘ with Ariel Helwani, Daniel Cormier revealed his thoughts on Jon Jones competing in the heavyweight division and whether or not the long layoff will affect him when (or if) he returns.
“My opinion of him has changed in this regard [and] I think that he’s so talented that regardless, he’ll be okay. And I also believe that he’s going to make sure that he still can compete… You know what’s crazy, like, everybody [is] talking about three years, three years, but there are other people that have come back. Georges St-Pierre won a championship after being away all that time.”
Following his welterweight title defense at UFC 167, George-St Pierre retired from the sport and vacated his title. Nearly four years to the day, ‘Rush’ returned to challenge then-middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217. St-Pierre scored a third-round submission to become one of the few fighters to hold UFC championships in more than one weight class.
Jon Jones’ Heavyweight Debut Delayed Until 2023 per Dana White
While multiple reports suggested that Jon Jones would make his long-awaited return to the Octagon this December at UFC 282, that no longer appears to be the case per comments from Dana White while speaking with The MAC Life.
“I’m hoping that we get him early next year or in the spring (of 2023),” said White.
Jones was slated to face former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at the December event which will now be headlined by a light heavyweight rematch between newly crowned titleholder Jiri Prochazka and former champion Glover Teixeira. Recent comments by MMA journalist Ariel Helwani suggested that the UFC simply did not “come correct” with their offer to Miocic, prompting the general consensus heavyweight GOAT to turn down his own return to the Octagon.
“I think once they didn’t really come correct with an offer – and that’s really what happened here,” Helwani said. “It was like a ‘Hey, you wanna fight him, here’s the amount, take it or leave it.’ And [Stipe Miocic] was like ‘Uuuuh,’ and then they just moved on.“