UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones has not confirmed his retirement plans, stating his decision will be influenced by his upcoming fight against Stipe Miocic and his recovery from a torn pectoral muscle.
Jon Jones, the MMA legend, might be hanging up his gloves soon. But, there’s no certainty that his fight with Stipe Miocic will be his last.
As the reigning UFC heavyweight champ, Jones has been making waves down under. He’s been touring Australia and New Zealand, healing from a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him last November.
Rumors have been flying. Many believe Jones will retire after his legacy fight with Miocic. If that happens, interim champ Tom Aspinall won’t get his shot at unifying the titles.
Jones, however, hasn’t made a decision yet. He’s keeping the door open for Aspinall.
“I’m going to base my decision on how I perform against Stipe and how I recover from this injury,” Jones said in an interview with Submission Radio. “I could blow Stipe out of the water or it could be a war. I need to take one step at a time before deciding my next move.”
But he’s not ruling out a fight with Tom. “Especially with how I’ve been feeling out here. I feel reinvigorated and re-energized being around all these fans. So, I can’t just walk away. The ball is rolling in a positive direction for me to continue my career.”
Jones’ determination to face Miocic isn’t random. Both fighters have impressive records. Jones has the most title defenses in UFC light heavyweight history. Miocic holds the same record in the heavyweight division.
“Stipe and I have both been in the sport for a long time,” Jones said. “I don’t think Stipe is getting the respect he deserves. We have unfinished business. I’m excited for Tom and his future.”
Jones isn’t interested in just facing the next guy in line. He’s considering his future in the sport.
“There will always be another awesome contender,” Jones said. “It’s the UFC’s job to build the next big thing. And it’s my job to realize when you are enough and you have done enough, you’ve provided for your family, you’ve created the life for your people.”
As for Aspinall, Jones doesn’t have a problem with him. But he’s not interested in a social media war. After multiple callouts from Aspinall, Jones ended the conversation. He told Aspinall he just hasn’t done enough yet to get his attention.
“As impressive as Tom is, he’s not important enough yet to determine my schedules and my decisions,” Jones said. “That’s fair enough, huh?”
Jones hopes Aspinall will continue to build his own legacy. For now, Jones says Aspinall should focus on that rather than a fight that’s not going to happen right now.
“If I were him, I would get after it,” Jones said. “If you truly believe that you’re the best in the world, then get after it. Go out there and compete. And the real fans will count your victories as champions. But don’t let me slow you down. Go out there and kick butt and make your money.”
Jones didn’t reveal when the fight with Miocic would be booked. But he did mention that he was approached about potentially headlining UFC 300 in April.
Unfortunately, Jones doesn’t think his body would be ready in time. He’s still recovering from the torn pectoral muscle that scrapped his last booking against Miocic.
“I got a call from [UFC Chief Business Officer] Hunter Campbell,” Jones said. “He said, ‘Jon, I know it’s only nine weeks away, but if there’s any chance you’re feeling up to it, it would be awesome news for the community that you’re coming back and headlining one of the biggest events ever.’ And, as honored as I am for the opportunity, I just don’t think I’ll be ready. I just don’t.”
“So, I’m getting up there in age and I only have a few more events left, and I want to give those events my all and make sure that I come back 100 percent.”