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Chris Weidman: ‘I know for a fact, I’m not leaving this sport without fighting’ Jon Jones

Jon Jones may be persona non grata in UFC circles right now, but Chris Weidman hasn't forgotten about the former pound-for-pound king.

"I know for a fact, I'm not leaving this sport without fighting Jon," Weidman said Monday on The MMA Hour. "Unless he's not coming back at all. But if he's there, and I'm here, people are going to want to see it happen. And I want to see it happen."

Weidman (13-0) is expected to defend his UFC middleweight title on Dec. 12 against Luke Rockhold at UFC 194. Another win would mark the fourth defense of Weidman's strap since the undefeated American dethroned the legendary Anderson Silva with a second-round knockout in 2013.

A superfight against Jones is one that Weidman has desired for several years now, dating back to the days before he was the UFC's middleweight champion. Weidman memorably offered to move up a weight class and step in on two week's notice against Jones once Dan Henderson dropped out of UFC 151 in 2012.

The fight never materialized and Jones ended up defending his light heavyweight belt against Vitor Belfort, but Weidman still has eyes on the challenge.

"That's nothing against Jon," Weidman said. "It's just because I'm a competitor. I want to fight the best possible people. I want to have the biggest challenges in front of me and conquer them.

"That's why I wanted to fight Anderson Silva when nobody else wanted to fight him. I want the biggest challenges. I want to beat people who people think I can't beat. And Jon is definitely going to be one of those guys."

Jones (21-1) is currently out on indefinite suspension while awaiting resolution for the felony hit-and-run that led to him being stripped of his long-held light heavyweight title.

The 28-year-old was arrested on April 27 after allegedly running a red light in a rented SUV and striking a car driven by a pregnant woman in Albuquerque. Jones allegedly fled the scene on foot, before returning to retrieve cash from his vehicle then fleeing once more.

The incident brought an end to what was shaping into one of the greatest title runs in UFC history. Jones defended his belt eight times over the course of four years, culminating in a decisive victory over current champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. That win cemented Jones as the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

A timetable for Jones' return is still unclear, and the middleweight division is its own beast with Rockhold on tap and contenders like Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero waiting in the wings. But Weidman still sees a day when he and Jones meet in a battle for New York supremacy.

"He's an amazing athlete and he's accomplished so much," Weidman said. "So I hope he gets his stuff together and he comes back."

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