Two months after returning from three years out of action to win the UFC heavyweight championship, Jon Jones is saying he may retire after a potential November clash with Stipe Miocic.
Jones last defended the light heavyweight championship in February 2020, edging out a controversial decision over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. Amidst plans to move up to heavyweight and financial disputes with the promotion, Jones vacated the title. He finally returned to action at UFC 285, taking slightly more than two minutes to submit Ciryl Gane and capture the then-vacant heavyweight championship.
Jones' attention quickly turned to a potential fight with Miocic, the most accomplished heavyweight in UFC history. Speaking with Fox Sports Australia on Wednesday, Jones made it clear the Miocic fight was still where his attention was focused, aiming for a November date in New York's Madison Square Garden. However, Jones also made it clear he'd be happy to retire after the fight.
"I think the Stipe fight will be plenty for me," Jones said. "I feel like I don't have too much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic. I've been in the game for a long time. In fighter years, I'm an old guy. I've been training a long time and been in the game a long time. Got some small injuries. I just really want to be around. I want to be around for my family, be around for my kids. I want to be able to play with my kids, have a good head on my shoulders. ... I could see it coming to an end really soon and I'm happy with that. I'm really proud of my career."
Jones has been one of the most dominant fighters in mixed martial arts history, compiling a record of 27-1, with the lone loss coming via controversial disqualification in December 2009. The only fighter who has truly had Jones' number is himself, with Jones running afoul of the law and failing drug tests many times in his career, losing his light heavyweight title multiple times as a disciplinary action.
In January, UFC president Dana White announced that Jones had signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion, so it may strike many as strange for Jones to be discussing retirement less than four months later.
Jones vs. Gane came together after Francis Ngannou left the promotion after the sides could not come to agreement on a new contract, leaving the heavyweight title vacant and the best heavyweight in the world as a free agent.
Jones made it clear that a fight with Ngannou would be worth entertaining after a Miocic clash but indicated not much more would drive him to remain an active competitor.
"I do believe a Francis Ngannou fight would be worth entertaining not retiring," Jones said. "I think a Francis fight would come with some serious revenue and that would make it worth my while. Francis is a former champion. He's pretty damn popular here in America and across the world. He's very well known. It would bring in a lot of money and for that I would be willing to come back."