mma / Columns

Jon Jones: Fighting to (Get Everyone to) Forget

January 8, 2019 | Posted by Evan Zivin
Jon Jones

Well, it’s been over a week since Jon Jones won back his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship …again… by defeating Alexander Gustafsson via 3rd round TKO in the main event of UFC 232 from The T-Mobile Arena The Forum in Inglewood, and he has yet to do something stupid to have it taken away from him.

Do you know what that means?

HE’S BACK!!!!!

Well, maybe. I mean, he still has a hearing scheduled with the Nevada Athletic Commission to discuss the situation that occurred prior to the fight, one which involved the entire event changing states because Jones failed multiple drug tests over the last couple months and Nevada wouldn’t grant Jones a license without a full hearing, which they couldn’t schedule before the event because it was Christmas, y’all.


The California State Athletic Commission, however, was cool with holding the fight, as they had enough opinions telling them there was a strong possibility that the substance Jones failed for, turinabol (the same substance he had in his system in a drug test prior to UFC 214 that resulted in a 15 month suspension), was a residual amount from the previous test he had failed and just finished serving a suspension for and was not enough to offer any performance enhancing benefit.

Whether those opinions were completely valid, since the literature on turinabol and it’s long-term metabolites is sparse to say the least, or just an endorsement for microdosing, Jones was allowed to fight at the expense of the thousands of fans who lost money because they made arrangements to travel to Las Vegas for the event without realizing the words “Card Subject to Change” can include the entirety of the card itself.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Now it’s on to the next chapter of the Jon Jones Re-Comeback Story: The one where he and the UFC makes everyone forget about all the sketchy stuff that just happened.

What, you thought Jon wanting a quick turnaround fight after having just fought is all due to a desire to stay active after being anything but for the last 3 years?

Well, it could be. If it is, it seems strange that, after calling out his favorite foe, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and current UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier, following the win last week, he’s already let go of it and and has agreed to fight Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2.

The Smith fight is dependent on Jones meeting with the NAC and successfully getting licensed, which we know he probably will (if California let Jones fight, Nevada will). Still, though, you gotta love when word of a fight booking gets out before we even know whether the fight will be allowed to happen. It’s almost as fun as seeing Dana White say a fight will happen right before one of the fighters competing in said fight says said fight is bullshit.

We miss you Nick. I hope telling the USADA testers to get bent is as fun now as it was the first time they knocked on your door at 6 AM to ask you to pee in a cup.

DIAZ 1,2,5 NEVA DIE!!!!

It’s great to see that Jones wants to get back in the Octagon so quickly, as he’s never been the type to favor fighting often or on short notice over doing what’s best for his long-term career (that was the attitude he had prior to pissing away 3 years of his prime for the stupidest of reasons, though), but Anthony Smith seems a bit underwhelming as an opponent.

That fact is a sad one considering he’s the #3 guy in UFC’s rankings behind the only other fighters in the light heavyweight division who are worth a damn, fighters who Jones has defeated 4 out of 4 times (or 3 out of 3 times with 1 no contest, whichever).

I do like Smith. He’s a gutsy dude who’s not afraid to scrap or pressure guys and do whatever he needs to win.

He is also undefeated at light heavyweight but that’s not saying much when his first two wins were against broken former champions who get ranked on name value alone (Rashad Evans and Shogun Rua), and his fight against Volkan Oezdemir saw Smith losing before Volkan gassed and Smith took advantage to win by submission in the third round.

Yeah, that sounds like someone who will be ready to complete the Jon Jones Challenge in two months time.

Maybe he should stick to something less crazy, like the Bird Box Challenge. Or kicking field goals for the Chicago Bears.

Seriously, I’d be burning my Cody Parkey jersey if I was stupid enough to buy one.

I’m sure UFC will hope for a good fight between Jones and Smith but I can also imagine the UFC’s thinking with this matchmaking isn’t as much keeping Jones active as much as it is keeping Jones from shooting himself in the foot again and trying to create positive headlines that will sweep away any of this nonsense about the UFC and USADA conspiring to allow a drug cheat to win a championship that he lost more than once because of either his own carelessness or his genuine desire to use any advantage available to him.

UFC knows that, if Jones fights Smith and gets a dominant win, and gets it without any outside shenanigans, all the headlines will be about how great he is and not about anything else. The more fights Jones takes, and the more he can stay on the straight and narrow throughout them (at least enough to change the narrative to something that isn’t fight related), the greater the likelihood the UFC may see a reality resembling the one from before Jones took his career on a detour where, no matter what he did outside the cage, he could still be respected inside it.

Or that’s the hope, anyway. It’s not like what Jones did in the past goes away, not that it really ever mattered if it did. It didn’t take much for Jones to earn recognition as “The Man” again, especially since most people thought he’s been “The Man” all these years anyway, even when another “Man” held his belt.

It just seems weird that, after calling that “Man” out, Jones is taking the Smith fight instead. Maybe he wants another tune up before Cormier. Maybe Cormier won’t take the fight before he gets the Brock Lesnar one. Maybe Jones is actually concerned about fighting Cormier again…Either way, whether we want it or not, the two are going to fight again.

It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. And I’m sure the UFC can’t wait for too much longer.

Bones is back so we better get used to it. Or at least we need to bide our time. He’s either going to be the champion he was always meant to be or he’s going to pretend to be the champion he was always meant to be and then spin out once he checks another box off his Chael Sonnen Bingo card.

I hear he’s almost got five in a row, which means he wins his choice of a failed Congressional run or the loss of a lot of money in a failing wrestling company started by Jeff Jarrett. The future sure is looking bright…

Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.

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Jon Jones, Evan Zivin