UFC prez Dana White willing to book Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier II on July 29
If Jones, the former champion, isn't ready, Cormier could face hard-hitting Jimi Manuwa
If former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones can be ready for a July 29 return, his first fight back from a one-year suspension could come in a rematch against current champion Daniel Cormier, according to UFC president Dana White.
Of course, that is provided Jones (22-1) doesn't require more time or a tune-up fight before then.
In a conversation with ESPN on Monday, White said he's willing to make Jones-Cormier II at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California, which comes just three weeks after the end of Jones' suspension for failing a pair of drug tests last July.
"Cormier is available to fight on July 8, but that time frame doesn't work for Jon Jones," White said. "Cormier already told me he's willing to fight either Jones or [Jimi] Manuwa.
"If Jon Jones is ready to fight on July 29, we'll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally."
White has publicly teased in recent weeks at the notion that Jones would prefer an interim fight before facing Cormier (19-1), to which White declared the UFC doesn't promote such fights. Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision in January 2015, just three months before being stripped of the title following arrest charges stemming from a hit-and-run incident.
In case Jones isn't interested in Cormier so soon, the current champion has already gone public on Twitter, saying Monday he would be willing to face Manuwa (17-2) during a back-and-forth with the British slugger.
"Jimi wants Cormier," White said. "They got into it at UFC 210, and Jimi told me he has never been talked to like that before. We'll see how this plays out."
Cormier, 38, defended his title for the second time on April 8 by submitting Anthony Johnson in a rematch. He has twice attempted to book rematches with Jones in the past only to see both fall apart at the last minute.
Last April, Cormier pulled out with a knee injury ahead of UFC 197. Most recently, ahead of UFC 200 last July, Jones tested positive for estrogen blockers he claimed were sexual enhancement pills and received a one-year suspension from the United Stats Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Because of Jones' constant struggles outside of the cage, which include just one UFC appearance over the last two years, White has opined of late, meaning it's unsure whether Cormier-Jones II would headline UFC 214 if signed.
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