After nearly three years of inactivity, Jon Jones may finally be entering the octagon once more, though it looks like the fight won’t be at Jones’ usual weight class of light heavyweight or against his previously rumored opponent, former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Instead, according to a fight banner which was accidentally leaked at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the UFC 285 main event will be Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane.
VIDEO PROOF THAT THE JONES LEAK IS REAL 👀pic.twitter.com/N4GT7Ckpxn
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) January 14, 2023
The news comes just days after Gane called out Jon Jones on social media with a tweet saying, “Where you at @JonnyBones? I’m free this March, Vegas.”
Although the leaked Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane banner was originally dispelled as fictitious on account of multiple reports saying that the banner was incorrect and the fight hadn’t been made official, including The Sporting News MMA Reporter Aaron Bronsteter contacting the concierge desk at the Park MGM and asking them to “see if the Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane ad popped up on the T-Mobile Arena billboard — to which the concierge replied that “it didn’t” — subsequent reports, including an Instagram video from well-known MMA analyst and reporter Ariel Helwani noted that although the Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane fight is not yet 100% officially confirmed, it could be announced later tonight. Helwani added that the Jones camp was willing to wait to see if Francis Ngannou, who is recovering from surgery to his ACL and MCL in his right knee, is fully healthy; Jones’ camp learned that Ngannou wasn’t at 100% and moved on. Jones’ camp was also unable to come to terms securing a fight against former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. The fight between Jones and Gane on March 4th would presumably be for the vacant UFC Heavyweight championship.
Editor’s Update: Jon Jones confirmed he’ll be facing Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 on his Twitter; he added that he’ll be working with Henry Cejudo, who he plans to have in his corner if their schedules align.
With the news of Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane, Frances Ngannou, who Jones was previously rumored to be fighting in March, is expected to be a free agent due to the terms of a contract he signed in December 2017. Ciryl Gane’s (12-1 UFC record) last two fights include a loss to Frances Ngannou, which he lost by unanimous decision at UFC 270 and a third-round knockout win over Tai Tuivasa at UFC Fight Night 209. Bones’ last win was back in February 2020, where he won by unanimous decision (though one that was highly questioned by MMA analysts and fans alike) over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247, which extended his record to 26-1-1.
What do you think of the rumored Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane matchup? Do you think the fight will be as entertaining as Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou or Jones vs. Miocic would have been? Do you think Jones making the jump to heavyweight will have any effect on his performance, especially against a fighter as dangerous as Ciryl Gane? Let us know in the comments.