The stage seems to be set for one of MMA’s most anticipated rematches. But all early indications point to a Jon Jones return at November 3’s UFC 230 not happening.
Last week Jones was cleared to return to action as early as October 28, 2018, by USADA. His PED-related suspension was greatly discounted for snitching on other fighters. The return was a shocking reveal for many fighters in the sport of MMA.
Jones has yet another life in the UFC. The timing of his 15-month suspension with USADA seemed all too curious as well. It gave him just a few days of eligibility before the lucrative UFC 230 pay-per-view from his home state of New York in November. Most predicted he would rematch longtime rival Alexander Gustafsson on the card.
Gustafsson continues to lobby for the bout, but others aren’t so sure. UFC President Dana White claimed Jones would return in early 2019 and now his longtime manager Malki Kawa insists Jones won’t return at UFC 230. Kawa appeared on today’s edition of “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” (via ESPN’s Greg Rosenstein) to shoot down the possibility of Jones fighting at UFC 230 for the time being:
“Malki Kawa, the manager of former UFC champion Jon Jones, told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani his client likely would not be fighting at UFC 230 in New York in November. The event, taking place at Madison Square Garden, still has yet to announce a main event.”
“Gus” Won’t Give Up
Gustafsson was also on Helwani’s show today.
He agreed that the booking was a no-brainer. It’s also the only fight that makes sense for him in his opinion. The UFC has not yet reached out to him in an effort to book it, however:
Alexander Gustafsson says the UFC has not reached out about him fighting Jon Jones.
"That's the only fight that make sense right now. It's the fight MMA fans around the world want to see. Let's do it. Why wait."
— Greg Rosenstein (@grosenstein) September 24, 2018
UFC 230 is currently without a main event as of this writing. Nate Diaz will make his long-awaited return versus Dustin Poirier at the event. It’s a huge fight, yet the return of New York native “Bones” is the biggest possible spectacle they can book for the card.
We’ve seen and heard White and the UFC do one thing and claiming it would never happen. Is Kawa playing the same game?