Well it was only a matter of time before this announcement came, but former UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones has been reinstated effective immediately back into the organization.
Jones avoided jail time a few weeks ago when agreed to a plea deal that forced him to accomplish… hours of community service and placed him on probation. Apparently the UFC has faith in that their young star has changed for the better, and has welcomed him back.
UFC CEO and Chairman, Lorenzo Fertitta gave a statement saying, “We’ve made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward…”
Jones’ first fight back will almost certainly be for the light heavyweight championship belt, which was stripped from him immediately following the hit and run incident back in April. The current owner of the belt is former heavyweight and rival to Jones, Daniel Cormier.
Cormier, who won the belt against Anthony Johnson after it was stripped from Jones, achieved his first title defense against the Swedish native Alexander Gustafson, back on October 3rd. The bout was one of the top five best light heavyweight title fights, and set up what can only be described as a monumental rematch between Cormier and Jones.
Now as excited as I am for this potential fight, I am torn on the Jones situation as a whole. Jones has had a reputation for being a bit of an arrogant jerk, and while a situation like the one he was in would make anyone change, I just don’t think he has.
What Jones did was horrible, and for anyone who does not know, he was involved in a hit and run in which a pregnant woman was injured. The woman is doing fine and has recovered from her injuries, but in order for me to feel that Jones has truly learned his lesson, I feel as though the punishment he received needed to be much harsher.
Jones’ last fight was January 3rd of this year. His next fight will likely be around March of 2016. So in total, Jones will have only had a little more than a years’ time in between fights. To put that in perspective, Jose Aldo, who is the featherweight champion, has not fight since October of last year. His next fight is December 12th in Las Vegas. So Jones will only miss about the same time as Aldo, and all Aldo did was hurt a rib in training, while Jones on the other hand, was arrested on felony charges. Something just doesn’t feel right.
While Jones, for the most part, was able to dodge any legal trouble outside of the Octagon, I feel as though Dana White should have come down with a harder suspension than the indefinite one which Jones received immediately following the incident.
For the good of the sport I hope Jon has learned his lesson, and can come back and compete at the same level. I hope Jon can use this experience and better himself as a human being, but until I see it with my own eyes I won’t believe it. It is not that I hate Jon Jones, in fact he’s one of my favorite fighters to watch, but I think I speak for most fans when I say that he needs to prove he is a better person before he can win back his fans. Either way, the fight against Cormier should be a great one, and myself, along with the rest of the MMA world, will be watching and observing Jones as he tries to make the best out of his new, second chance.
By Jake Cianci