On March 4, 2023, Jon Jones returned to the octagon and stopped Ciryl Gane in the first round to capture the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
“I’ve been wrestling since I was 12 years old,” Jones said after submitting Gane in the first round.
“I feel stronger and more comfortable on the ground than ever. Once I got my hands on him, I knew that’s where I’m most comfortable and I can take control.”
Moving forward, former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic will likely challenge Jon Jones for his heavyweight crown. The newly-crowned champion alluded to the fight immediately after beating Gane.
“Y’all want to see me beat up Stipe?” Jones asked the crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.
“One thing I know about the UFC is we give the fans what they want to see. Stipe Miocic, I hope you’re training, my guy. You’re the greatest heavyweight of all time. That’s what I want. I want you real bad.”
If Jones is able to get by Miocic, Jones may walk away from mixed martial arts entirely. Jon Jones’ coach Brandon Gibson recently told Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour that the heavyweight champion may decide to retire if he runs out of things to prove in the sport.
“I think physically and mentally he can go a long way. And we’ve seen so many great Heavyweights have incredible performances throughout their 40s — I mean, even Stipe [Miocic] is [almost] 41. But I think Jon’s going to be one of those athletes that walks away early. He’s going to walk away early, I think so. I think Jon will ride off into the sunset, and us, as MMA fans, will still be clamoring for one more or talking about potential matchups,” Gibson said.
“But I don’t think Jon’s going to have too much more to prove.”