UFC president Dana White is hopeful to get Jon Jones back in the octagon this summer, and he sees Stipe Miocic as the leading candidate for his opponent.
Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), a former multitime UFC light heavyweight champion, hasn’t fought since February 2020. He’s been plotting a move up to the heavyweight division for the majority of the time since, but contract disputes, legal trouble and more have kept him out of the cage.
It appears a Jones comeback fight is looming, however, as White told TMZ that he has the desire to book Jones in the coming months – with Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) being the ideal opponent.
“I was just telling somebody the other day, our lineup for this summer is incredible,” White said. “So I’m hoping Jon Jones is going to be part of that lineup this summer. … Stipe makes sense.”
A person close to the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told MMA Junkie that Miocic was recently offered an interim heavyweight championship bout against Jones at UFC 276 on July 2 in Las Vegas. Whether Miocic agrees to the terms and Jones can come to an agreement with the promotion, that remains to be seen.
The UFC intends to implement an interim belt regardless, though, since reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is expected to be sidelined for likely the rest of 2022 after undergoing knee surgery. He’s also been public about his own contract dispute with the promotion.
Championship movement at heavyweight has been idle since Ngannou’s title defense over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January, but White’s comments indicate the situation could be progressing.