Jon Jones will return to the UFC to fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on March 4, 2023, to fight Cyril Gane for the vacant title. Regarding making UFC predictions, betting on this fight presents an exciting challenge. Despite all of the moronic things Jones has done outside the octagon, there is no arguing his greatness.
Jones is 26-1 with one no-contest during his career in mixed martial arts. He has defended the Light Heavyweight title 11 times. However, Jones being a betting favorite against former interim champion Ciryl Gane is fascinating. Jones has never fought at heavyweight before, and Gane, while only having 12 professional fights, has been the more active man.
How approach to researching this fight will be a blend of looking at each fighter’s strengths but also into their personal histories as well. When it comes to Jones, few fighters have been more consistent and made more money for bettors. However, time catches up to everyone. Is the clock finally ticking on a respected veteran?
Bones Jones in the GOAT Discussion
Jones has had a long, storied UFC career. His only career loss was a controversial stoppage for illegal elbows during a fight with Matt Hamill back in 2009. Since then, Jones’ run through the UFC has featured 17 wins in 18 fights. The one non-victory was a no-contest due to his testing positive for an illegal substance following the fight.
Jones has had many non-voluntarily breaks from the octagon before. He has had issues with domestic violence charges as well as drug charges. Despite all of the controversy, Jones handled business in the octagon. However, there were some concerns toward the end of his light-heavyweight reign.
Many observers thought that Jones may have lost his last two fights with Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes, which both went to decisions. The fight with Santos was a split decision, while the win over Reyes was a unanimous decision for Jones.
Gane has Become a Standard Bearer for French Fighters
MMA wasn’t even legal in France until the past few years. Gane, 32, however, has been one of the UFC’s top young fighters over the past few years and helped push to gain mainstream acceptance in France. Gane won his first six fights in the UFC by displaying all of his skills, twice winning by submission while also picking up two knockouts and a few decisions along the way.
The highlight for Gane, though, came when he won the interim UFC Heavyweight title by knocking out Derrick Lewis in Lewis’ hometown of Houston, Texas. Gane’s reign atop the heavyweight division didn’t last long. Francis Ngannou would take the title back from Gane by grinding out a decision win at UFC 270.
Champions Have Come Back and Been Successful Before
Dominick Cruz was forced to take three years away from MMA due to an injury after defending his bantamweight championship against Demetrious Johnson on Oct. 1, 2011. Upon Cruz’s return, he was able to win one fight before earning a title shot against T.J. Dillashaw. Cruz would score a decision win to get his title back.
What Jones is doing is a little different, however. Jones is attempting to go up a weight division he has never fought in and win the championship. Georges St.-Pierre is another fighter who returned from a long absence to capture a title in the weight division where he was never champion in during the bulk of his career.
MMA Legends Seldom go out Gracefully
MMA isn’t a sport where people usually ride off into the sunset. Khabib Nrmuagmedov is one of the few fighters that were successfully able to walk away satisfied on top. Many fighters will try to extend their careers by taking several fights where they are already past their prime.
Chris Weidman continues to try and make a comeback but will never recapture his glory from when he was the champion following an upset of Anderson Silva. That’s what makes Jones’ quest so interesting. He was a betting underdog but was quickly bet up to a favorite.
However, combat sports usually don’t have a fairy tale ending for the stars of the sport. Jones will add another interesting chapter to his legacy if he can return and win the title at heavyweight following a long absence.