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Dana White Says Jon Jones Expected to Headline UFC 135 in Denver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- UFC president Dana White on Thursday said he expects light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to make his first title defense against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135 in Denver, Colo. on September 24.

"That is the date [Jones] will fight, assuming he's healed," White said.

White stipulated that Jones still needs to get his hand cleared by a doctor before he can be officially slotted in, but that could happen as early as Friday, barring any unforeseen medical problems.

Just last week Jones told MMA Junkie that Jackson would be his first challenger, but said he couldn't discuss the date. White ended that speculation following the UFC 131 press conference, telling reporters that the organization is targeting Jones' return for September 24.

Previously, Jones was expected to face former training partner Rashad Evans in his first title defense. But after pulling out of the bout amid claims that he needed surgery on an injured ligament in his hand, Evans was slotted for a fight with Phil Davis at UFC 133.

Recently, Jones' management announced on Twitter that the champion doesn't need surgery after all, clearing the way for a return to action in the fall. As long as doctors don't see any problem with the hand now, Jones should be cleared to take on Jackson in Denver.

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