Jon Jones will fight Anthony Smith to defend title at UFC 235

Yahoo Sports

Hot on the heels of Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title triumph at UFC 232, he’s already got another fight lined up. UFC president Dana White confirmed to TMZ on Saturday night that Jones would fight Anthony Smith in March at UFC 235 to defend his title. Smith is 31-13 in MMA and 7-3 in UFC, and last fought Volkan Oezdemir to submission in October at UFC Fight Night 138.

Jones is 23-1 in MMA, and 17-1 in UFC. He last fought Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, emerging victorious with a TKO in three rounds. That fight was Jones’ first since July 2017 when he defeated Daniel Cormier. His victory over Cormier was changed to a “no contest” when it was revealed that Jones had failed a drug test on a sample collected just days before the fight. Jones could have faced a four-year ban, but ended up serving just 15 months.

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The fight isn’t for two months, but Smith is already talking a good game. He hasn’t been shy about criticizing Jones, and is clearly ready to put his money where his mouth is.


Jones needs to address “atypical” drug test results

While White confirmed the fight to TMZ, there’s still a hurdle to overcome. Jones needs to appear in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to discuss his last drug test, which was done in advance of UFC 232 in late December, before NSAC will grant him a license to fight in the state. Trace amounts of turinabol, a banned substance, were found in that test.

Those test results are why UFC 232 had to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles with just a week to spare. With several commissioners out of town for the holidays, NSAC wasn’t able to clear him to fight in Nevada, so they allowed him to withdraw his application so he could fight in California.

Despite trace amounts of a banned substance appearing in the test results, independent experts found that the amount was so small that it could not have come from a re-ingestion of the substance. It’s most likely a residual from when he previously took turinabol. The US Anti-Doping Agency and Dana White both agree that Jones’ positive test is not the result of a recent banned substances infraction. Jones took and passed several drug tests in the lead-up to UFC 232.

Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight title in March when he fights Anthony Smith at UFC 235. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)
Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight title in March when he fights Anthony Smith at UFC 235. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Digital First Media/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

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