UFC 235: Jon Jones to defend light heavyweight title vs. Anthony Smith pending licensure
As long as Nevada deems Jones OK to fight in their state, Jones will be back rather soon
Just three months after a last-second fiasco saw UFC move a PPV event on six day's notice because of its megastar, Jon Jones appears set to attempt to fight in Las Vegas again. The reigning light heavyweight champion is coming off a third-round stoppage of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 2332 on Dec. 29, and is already looking to book his next fight, according to UFC president Dana White.
"Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2," White told TMZ on Saturday. "Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his Light Heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five-round main event at the T-Mobile Arena."
Jones' failed a pre-fight drug test with a trace amount of turinabol, the banned substance that saw him suspended 15 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The USADA referred to it as "an extremely low level," concluding that it is a residual amount "from his prior exposure for which he was previously sanctioned."
Because of the testing and NSAC unable to make a decision with most of its panel on holiday vacation, UFC was forced to move their entire event to Los Angeles.
Smith is currently riding a three-fight win streak since moving up to 205 pounds with wins over Rashad Evans, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Volkan Oezdemir. Smith and Jones shared an awkward exchange after UFC 232 where Smith was working as a studio analyst for FS1 and seemingly called out Jones for his shot at a title fight.
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