The UFC is looking into a potential bout between Jon Jones and Curtis Blaydes if Francis Ngannou fails to resign with the company.
Questions about when Jones would make his highly anticipated heavyweight debut have been asked. After numerous rumoured dates and opponents being thrown in the hat, the UFC have finally pencilled in a date, an opponent, and even a backup fighter.
Jon Jones heavyweight debut set for UFC 285
Nolan King reported that the UFC left UFC 285 on March 5, 2032, in Las Vegas, free for Jones’s return. The promotion’s idea is to have Jones face heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, but making the fight may not be plain sailing. Ngannou’s contract expires at the beginning of 2023, and with no new deal set in stone, it’s unlikely. Taking the contract issue into consideration, the UFC have Curtis Blaydes in mind as a safeguard.
Blaydes’s record is a notable 17-3 (12-3-1 UFC) and is easily considered one of the more challenging fights in the division. The No.3 ranked heavyweight is currently riding a three-fight win streak with wins over Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Chris Daukaus, and Tom Aspinall. Although a tough test for Jones’s debut, it’s not a bout the fans are particularly eager to see.
Several weeks ago, fans anticipated that a fight booking between Jones vs. Stipe Miocic was on the horizon. However, Jones revealed the stalling was all from Miocic’s side, but Ariel Helwani had his take on the situation.
“I think once they didn’t really come correct with an offer – and that’s really what happened here,” The MMA Hour host, Helwani, revealed at the start of November. “It was like a, ‘Hey, you wanna fight him, here’s the amount, take it or leave it.’ And [Stipe Miocic] was like ‘Uhhh,’ and then they just moved on.”
Miocic is arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time and holds the record for heavyweight title defences, but the firefighter doesn’t seem in a hurry to return to competition. Helwani believes if there’s no fight booking for Miocic soon, perhaps we may have seen the last of him in a pair of MMA gloves.
The end for Stipe Miocic?
“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this marks the end of Stipe’s career,” Helwani added. “Stipe is going to go off into the night very quietly. Stipe was never going to make a big hullabaloo. Maybe it’s a [social media] post or something like that. He’s a pretty quiet guy, private guy, likes his life as a fire fighter. He was not going to make a big deal of the end of his fighting career.”
It’s been two-years since Jones last stepped foot on the UFC canvas with a unanimous decision victory over Dominick Reyes. The former light heavyweight champion isn’t getting any younger, and as we know in the world of MMA, father time is undefeated.
Does a fight between Jon Jones and Curtis Blaydes excite you? Let us know in the comments!