Jon Jones and the UFC are at a very public stalemate.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion has said on social media that he wants to fight Francis Ngannou for his newly-acquired heavyweight crown on several occasions – albeit for more money than what his current contract stipulates.
On the other hand, Dana White and the UFC brass seem less interested in that matchup, instead opting to book Ngannou with Derrick Lewis.
Rumours briefly circulated that Jones could face former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for his debut above the light heavyweight limit. However, it appears that rumour won’t be coming to fruition as “Bones” has his eyes set on becoming a two-division champion as soon as possible.
With both parties at loggerheads, Jones’ fighting future is seemingly up in the air. At the UFC 262 post-fight press conference, White says it’s up to Jones if he wants to return to the Octagon.
“That’s up to Jon Jones, whether he wants to fight or not,” White said. “There are fights available. They’re here. I’m gonna keep making fights every weekend, doing fights.
“If Jon Jones wants to fight, he can. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t have to. Nobody’s gonna force Jon Jones to fight. He’s had a great run. He’s got an incredible legacy. I personally see him as the GOAT right now. You’ve got guys that are nipping at his heels like [Kamaru] Usman and some other guys out there. You know, it’s up to him. He can fight this summer, or he can never fight again. I mean, that’s up to him.”
Jones’ decision to move up to heavyweight is seen as a chance to cement his legacy as one of the greatest fighters to grace the sport.
However, White believes that status has already been secured by Jones. Though, he does agree that an additional piece of silverware would make his status as the Greatest Of All Time undeniable.
“I mean, he could do it,” White said. “That’s like [Tom] Brady going out and winning another Super Bowl with the Bucs.
“Obviously going up to heavyweight, it would be tough to argue – if he wins the title – that he’s not the GOAT. But right here, right now, he could retire, and I still consider him the GOAT right now until somebody else accomplishes what he has.”