The time has finally come, Jon Jones will fight for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Title on March 4th against the #1 ranked UFC Heavyweight Contender, Cyril Gane. Francis Ngannou has been stripped of his Heavyweight Title, as he and the UFC were unable to come to a deal with a new contract.
After numerous rumors and predictions, Jon Jones finally has an opponent and it will be for the belt. Jones will make his heavyweight debut against Gane, which Jones has been preparing for since his last fight against Dominick Reyes on February 8th, 2020.
It has been a long process to get Jones a set opponent and time, but we finally have the answers. Here is the process that the UFC had to take to get Jones vs Gane booked, all per Ariel Helwani’s twitter:
So, the UFC was originally looking to schedule a fight between Jones and former Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou for December 10th, 2022. However, Ngannou was in need of a new contract, as well as needing to recover from a torn ACL and MCL which happened in his fight against Gane for the heavyweight title in January of last year.
Ngannou’s contract and injury situation forced the UFC to look somewhere else, as Jones has been waiting for months to get a fight scheduled. That’s when the UFC looked towards the #2 Heavyweight Contender Stipe Miocic, also looking to schedule the fight for December 10th, 2022.
Similar to Ngannou, Miocic and the UFC had troubles agreeing to a new contract and deal to book Jones vs Miocic, and once again had to look somewhere else as Jones continued to wait.
Finally, the UFC found their opponent for Jones with Frenchman Ciryl Gane. Gane is a former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion, and earned those honors with a TKO over Derrick Lewis on August 7th, 2021.
Since then, Gane was unanimously defeated by Ngannou for the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship last January, but rebounded with a flush KO victory over Australian and #5 ranked Heavyweight Contender Tai Tuivasa.
Jones’ return to the octagon against Gane on March 4th will be one of the most anticipated fights in UFC history, as the controversial G.O.A.T will bump up to 250-pounds to keep his 17-fight win streak going.