The UFC world was shaken to its core today as Jon Jones announced his plans to retire after defending his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic later this year. The two-time UFC champion, who many consider to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time, made history in March by defeating Ciryl Gane in just over two minutes to win the heavyweight belt. Now, ‘Bones’ has his sights set on defending his belt against Miocic at the UFC‘s New York pay-per-view event in November before calling it a career.
“Right now, my goal is to have one more big fight against Stipe Miocic, Madison Square Garden and then kinda hang it up from there,” Jones told Fox Sports Australia. “I think the Stipe fight will be plenty for me. I feel like I don’t really have much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic.”
Jones made his UFC debut against the late Stephan Bonnar in 2009 and became the youngest champion in promotional history just two years later by stopping another legend in Shogun Rua. With his only defeat being a controversial disqualification to Matt Hamill over a decade ago, Jones has beaten some of the best light-heavyweight fighters ever such as Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. Despite this, the 35-year-old admitted that small injuries have been nagging him of late, adding: “I’ve been in the game a long time and in fighter years, I’m an old guy. I’ve been training for a long time, I’ve been in the game for a long time and got some small injuries – I just really want to be around. Be around for my family, be around for my kids.”
Jones said the only way he would consider continuing to fight after his fight with Miocic is if former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou made a UFC return. The UFC legend is also not a fan of fights against top contenders such as Sergei Pavlovich as he thinks they carry a “high risk, very low” reward outcome. “I do believe a Francis Ngannou fight would be worth entertaining not retiring,” Jones added. “I think a Francis fight would come with some serious revenue and that would make it worth my while. Francis is a former champion, he’s pretty damn popular here in America and across the world. It would bring in a lot of money and for that I would be willing to come back.”
The UFC community will surely miss Jones‘ dominance and showmanship in the octagon, but it seems that he has made up his mind to call it quits. Fans can look forward to seeing him defend his heavyweight title one last time against Miocic, in what is sure to be an epic showdown between two of the sport’s greatest athletes.