After Jon Jones’ suspension has been lifted by the UFC last week, the former 205-pound champion is good to return to the Octagon anytime he wants.
Jones has been stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely after a felony hit-and-run incident in April and members from his camp had expressed multiple times that they were unsure if Jones would ever want to come back. His manager Malki Kawa now shed some light on the situation and explained that “Bones” has made up his mind during the inadvertent break.
“At some point, they were going to reinstate him,” Kawa said on the latest episode of the MMA Hour. “The only thing I never knew for sure was whether or not he wanted to fight.
“I always knew there would be a day where he said ‘yeah, I definitely want to do this,'” Kawa continued. “But I didn’t know if it was right when he suspension got lifted, if it would be a year from now, if it would be UFC 200, if Madison Square Garden would be enough. I didn’t know if he’d say ‘yeah I want to do this’. He really was frustrated, you know what I mean? He just needed the time away, and now that he’s had that been able to reflect and see what’s important to him.”
Kawa revealed, that Jones already wanted to take a break from MMA long before his last fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 192, but that new fights kept being offered to him constantly, and that he simply wasn’t able to say no. However, several months away from the sport have been enough to get the youngest UFC champion in history motivated to come back and train like he has never trained before.
“The only word that can really describe Jon right now is ‘focused’,” Kawa said. “I’ve never seen him this focused. He’s super focused. He’s more focused than he’s ever been before. Everybody’s got their opinions. He did this, he did that, whatever. That’s all fine and dandy. He’s still the greatest fighter we’ve ever seen, right.”
“I’m watching him through many different camps, and the coaches have told me how he does many different things through many different camps. This is the first time that he doesn’t have a fight scheduled, he’s in Albuquerque, and he’s actually training. Most of the time when he doesn’t have a fight, he doesn’t train at all. There’s no weightlifting, there’s no jiu-jitsu practice, there’s no boxing, there isn’t anything. So, this is the first time we can sit here, all of us, and say he’s actually putting in some work. And he’s really putting in some work.”
When Jones returns, he will likely receive an immediate opportunity to win back his title. A belt, that is now owned by Daniel Cormier, who recently announced that he will take some time off to enjoy life with his family. So what does that mean for a Jon Jones comeback?
“In a perfect world, New York State gets approved and he makes a comeback in Madison Square Garden,” Kawa said. Jones is a native of New York, one of the few U.S. states where the sport of MMA is still illegal. “New York would have to get approved, and in my opinion, the stars align for everyone, the UFC, the state of New York, Jon makes his comeback and wins his belt, his home crowd, that would be pretty cool.”
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