UFC heavyweight champion Jones currently is in Australia doing a multi-city tour. He sat down with Submission Radio upon his arrival “Down Under” and revealed that he recently got a call from UFC CBO Hunter Campbell, who pitched him on fighting on the historic April 13 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Although Jones said he’s “healing up really, really fine” from surgeries on a torn pectoral muscle and lingering elbow damage, both of which have happened since he withdrew from a scheduled title defense vs. Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 in November, the timeline for UFC 300 was simply not in the cards.
“I got a call from Hunter Campbell, one of the head lawyers of the UFC (and) he said, ‘Jon, I know it’s only nine weeks away, but if there’s any chance you’re feeling up to it, it would be awesome news for the community that you’re coming back and headlining one of the biggest events ever,'” Jones said to Submission Radio. “And, as honored as I am for the opportunity, I just don’t think I’ll be ready. I just don’t. So I’m getting up there in age and I only have a few more events left, and I want to give those events my all and make sure that I come back 100 percent.”
Jones, 36, has not competed since March 2023, when he returned from a layoff of around three years to claim the vacant heavyweight title with a submission of Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. The matchup with Miocic is the one that Jones desires most, but both he and the UFC brass have received criticism for putting together a “legacy” fight, rather than giving the opportunity to interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall, who has been pleading for a chance to fight Jones.
That doesn’t bother Jones, he said, and he isn’t taking his focus off Miocic.
“I think it’s definitely going to be Stipe,” Jones said. “Stipe and I have both been in the sport for a long time. I don’t think Stipe is getting the respect that he deserves. Me and Stipe have unfinished business, and I think it’s the only fair thing to do. I’m excited for Tom and his future.”
Just because Jones has Miocic in his crosshairs doesn’t mean the Aspinall fight will never happen, he said. “Bones” isn’t sure how much time he has left in the sport, but if he chooses to continue beyond a Miocic fight, he entrusts the UFC will put him in the fights that make most sense.
“There will always will be another awesome contender,” Jones said. “It’s the UFC’s job to build the next big thing. And it’s my job to realize when you are enough and you have done enough, you’ve provided for your family, you’ve created the life for your people – and so I don’t know. I really don’t know what’s going to be next. I’m just taking it one thing at a time. That’s my respect to Stipe, is just to take it one thing at a time, and to respect him as a challenge that he will be.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 300.