Jon Jones may be relegated to the shelf for the immediate future, but when the ex-UFC light heavyweight champion finally clears his legal hurdles and returns from a UFC-imposed suspension, he'll be given the chance to pick up right where he left off.
"He comes right back and he fights for the title," UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday on The Jim Rome Show. "He hasn't had the time that Anderson Silva's had, but he is the most dominant champion.
"If you look at the murderer's row of the 205-pound division that he went through, and he just went through it like a hot knife through butter, I mean, he's the man. So whenever he gets his stuff together, he'd come right back and fight for the title."
Jones, 27, was supposed to defend his light heavyweight title for a record ninth consecutive time this Saturday at UFC 187, but instead is serving an indefinite UFC suspension after having his belt stripped for his alleged role in a bizarre hit-and-run accident last month that left one pregnant victim with a fractured arm. Jones was arrested on April 27, a day after allegedly running a red light and causing a three-car collision, then fleeing the scene of the accident only to return for a handful of cash and flee once more.
The day after Jones' arrest, White announced on FOX Sports 1 that Jones would be stripped of his long-held UFC title and suspended indefinitely while the UFC awaited the Bernalillo County district attorney's decision regarding whether or not to bring Jones' case to a grand jury. If convicted, Jones faces a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury.
The incident was just the latest stain to mar Jones' rap sheet, which had grown rather extensive over Jones' four-year reign as UFC champion. The Jackson-Winklejohn product was cited for driving with a suspended license in 2011, then arrested seven months later in New York for driving while intoxicated. Jones was also recently fined $25,000 by the UFC after testing positive for cocaine metabolites in an out-of-competition drug test prior to his UFC 182 fight against Daniel Cormier. Jones spent one day in a rehabilitation center for the failed test.
Speaking to Rome on Wednesday, White acknowledged that stripping Jones of his title was a "no-brainer" considering the ex-champion's past indiscretions.
"We had gotten to the point where, you know, it was like if he had one more incident. And the level of the last incident obviously made it that much easier," White said.
"Obviously he's been stripped of the title, he's not fighting anymore, and he's got these legal issues he's got to deal with. Once he gets through those, he's either going to end up with a felony or jail time, or a felony and jail time. So I don't know how this thing is going to play out. We'll see how it goes.
"Like I said, he's got these legal issues and he's got a civil suit against him. He's got a civil suit against him and all this other stuff. (We'll) see how he gets through this and then find out where his head is. How does he handle himself through this situation and after it? I mean, I gotta see from him that he's doing the right thing."