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UFC president Dana White continues to stand his ground on the return of Jon Jones.
White is keeping a firm stance on the future of the former UFC light heavyweight champion and arguably the greatest fighter in the history of MMA. During the UFC 262 post-fight news conference, White, once again, said the UFC will move on with or without Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), adding that Jones can choose whatever he wants.
“Listen, that’s up to Jon Jones, whether he wants to fight or not,”
White told reporters on Saturday night in Houston. “There (are) fights available. They’re here. I’m gonna keep making fights every weekend, doing fights.
“If Jon Jones wants to fight, he can. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t have to. Nobody’s gonna force Jon Jones to fight. He’s had a great run. He’s got an incredible legacy. I personally see him as the GOAT right now. You’ve got guys that are nipping at his heels like Usman and some other guys out there. You know, it’s up to him. He can fight this summer, or he can never fight again. I mean, that’s up to him.”
White’s latest comments come after the UFC boss said former heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic will get a shot at the winner of the heavyweight title fight between current champ Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis. Original plans called for Jones to challenge Ngannou in his divisional debut, but that fight has fallen by the wayside as Jones has been adamant about receiving a better contract, resulting in a public feud between Jones and White during the past year.
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Jones vacated his light heavyweight title back in August 2020 with plans to move up to the heavyweight division. However, he’s been unable to get a fight.
While White labels Jones as the greatest of all time, he’s not so willing to meet Jones’ monetary demands and doesn’t necessarily see a heavyweight title as a must to cement his legacy.
“I mean, he could do it,” White said. “That’s like (Tom) Brady going out and winning another Super Bowl with the Bucs. Obviously going up to heavyweight, it would be tough to argue – if he wins the title – that he’s not the GOAT. But right here, right now, he could retire, and I still consider him the GOAT right now until somebody else accomplishes what he has.”
Jones last fought in February 2020 when he narrowly defended his title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. The 33-year-old Jones was champion for the better part of a decade. His only defeat is a 2009 disqualification against Matt Hamill in a fight he was dominating.