The ball is in Jon Jones’ court.
UFC president Dana White revealed Monday in an interview with ESPN.com that he’s willing to grant Jones a title shot against UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 on July 29.
Cormier is available to fight at UFC 213 on July 8, but, as White pointed out, that time frame doesn’t work for Jones, whose one-year suspension for a failed drug test is scheduled to end in early July.
Jones will face Cormier at UFC 214 unless the former champ would like a tune-up fight upon first returning to the octagon, in which case Cormier could fight Jimi Manuwa at UFC 213.
“Cormier already told me he’s willing to fight either Jones or Manuwa,” White told ESPN.com. “If Jon Jones is ready to fight (by UFC 214) on July 29, we’ll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally.”
Cormier’s only blemish in UFC to this point came at the hands of Jones at UFC 182 in January 2015. Jones later was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight championship, now held by Cormier, who won the vacant title in a fight against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May 2015.
Jones has fought once since his previous bout with Cormier, beating Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 in April 2016. He won the interim UFC light heavyweight championship in that fight and was expected to fight Cormier in a unification bout at UFC 200 last July, but Jones’ failed drug test led to his suspension and him being stripped of the belt a second time.
It’s long seemed inevitable Cormier and Jones would meet again, especially given the state of the light heavyweight division and the apparent hatred between the two. Now, with White ready to sign off, we’re one step closer to the big rematch.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images