The mixed martial arts (MMA) world is anxiously awaiting the return of longtime former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who’s set to take on rival Daniel Cormier in the main event of April 23’s UFC 197, but today, fans can already get a glimpse of him with the belt back in his hands.
‘Bones,’ the dominant champ who never lost his belt but was stripped of the title and suspended after a hit-and-run accident in April 2015 left a 25-year-old pregnant Albuquerque woman with a broken arm and the embattled fighter with 18 months probation, has since been reinstated to the UFC.
He’s retaken the top spot in the official pound-for-pound rankings, and he”s also rekindled his well-documented war of words with Cormier, the current champ who won the title in his absence after losing a decision to Jones at UFC 182.
Many, if not most, are picking Jones to regain his belt when he rematches Cormier, but if a recent tweet from ‘Bones’ is any indication, the UFC might be getting a bit ahead of themselves.
Last night, Jones posted a video of him holding the belt for UFC content and wrote that the promotion was smart because they ‘know order will be restored shortly.’ Check it out:
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 4, 2016
Now, many will view this occurrence as a bit of foreshadowing, and indeed you could find it hard to argue with that based on Jones’ previous win over Cormier. But after submitting Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 and defending the belt in a war with Alexander Gustafsson in one of the best fights of the year at UFC 192, Cormier is the official champ and will be so until Jones defeats him inside the Octagon, whether he and his fans like it or not.
It’s also interesting to see the promotion film Jones with the belt before he’s even won it, because even as the overwhelming favorite, a fight is still a fight and anything can happen. And as we’ve seen recently, supposedly dominant champions can be taken out in shockingly quick fashion.
Jones and Cormier have been trading barbs in the media this week, creating even more hype and attention for a grudge match that doesn’t need it.
Did the UFC get ahead of the curve by filming Jones with his championship already, or were they simply predicting the inevitable future?