Dana White promises Jon Jones won’t be in a main event when he returns to the UFC
Jon Jones will be eligible to return to action this July but despite his status as arguably the greatest fighter to ever step into the Octagon, he won’t be in a main event for his next fight.
Just after Jones was pulled from UFC 200 for testing positive for a banned substance, UFC president Dana White said that he wouldn’t book the embattled former light heavyweight champion in a main event whenever he came back to the sport.
At the time it seemed like anger clouding good judgment because White was upset that Jones cost the promotion a huge main event on a historic card like UFC 200.
Now as Jones sits just a few months away from regaining eligibility to compete again, White still hasn’t forgotten what happened last July and says the former champion will be welcomed back when he can fight but he won’t be in a main event.
“If Jones fights, Jones is going to be a co-main event anyway. There’s already a co-main event on that card,” White said when addressing the former champion possibly competing at UFC 213 on July 8.
“I’d put just about everybody ahead [of Jon Jones] and make them the main event. I just don’t have the faith right now that the fight’s going to happen. I don’t want to spend millions and millions of dollars again promoting a fight that doesn’t happen.”
It might make booking Jones’ next fight that much more difficult considering he’s inarguably the No. 1 contender to face current champion Daniel Cormier, who defeated Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC 210 on Saturday night.
Jones already holds a win over Cormier and the two fighters have engaged in one of the most bitter rivalries in the history of mixed martial arts.
For his part, Cormier says he’s not bumping back down to co-main event status just to fight Jones unless it’s a card where he’s sharing the top spot with the biggest draw in the entire sport. Otherwise, Cormier just isn’t interested.
“I said that we do business, Jones and I, for all the hate when we’re older we’ll have made each other a lot of money. If [Dana White]’s not ready to put him in a main event, I can understand,” Cormier said. “Because we have all been burned by this young man.
“But if we are in a co-main event, it has to be to [Conor] McGregor or somebody like that because otherwise, who else would be in a main event above me and Jon Jones? We’re not going to co-main event to just anyone. It has to be the biggest star in the sport and that’s Conor McGregor.”
Jones has expressed interest in possibly returning for a “warm up” fight before facing Cormier with the title on the line so perhaps that would make the co-main event slot a little more appealing for the former champion.
Jones was in attendance at UFC 210 on Saturday night sitting cage side to watch Cormier’s win over Johnson, but he still didn’t get a chance to speak to White to clear the air over everything that’s happened in the past year.
White isn’t likely to speak to Jones any time soon until the former champion is closer to his return date in July.
“We didn’t talk,” White said about Jones. “We’ll probably talk closer to when it’s time for him to fight, which I don’t believe will be in July anyway.”