Former longtime UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be eligible to return from his latest suspension in July. But that doesn't mean Dana White is in any rush to put him back on the top of the card.
Jones was suspended by USADA for a year after a recent arbitration hearing, the result of a failed drug test that caused him to be pulled out of his UFC 200 main event with Daniel Cormier a few days before the fight.
This wasn't the first time main event plans involving Jones have been changed on the fly, and the UFC president isn't ready to trust him in that spot again any time soon.
Speaking on a Sirius XM town hall hosted by sportscaster Jim Rome on Thursday, White said putting Jones atop the bill is too risky a proposition.
"I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again," White said. "I'd put him on the card. But I wouldn't headline with him until he consistently gets back on track."
In the case of UFC 200, White had to scramble at the last minute, as Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes was elevated to the main event and Cormier instead fought Anderson Silva on short notice. It's not a scenario he wishes to repeat.
"Millions of dollars are spent on this, and for a card to fall apart -- how many cards have fallen apart because Jon Jones gets in trouble for something?" White said. "So no, I'm not at that place with him."
White went on to say Jones, who at 22-1 with just a chintzy disqualification loss on his record has never been legitimately defeated in his career, is wasting his talents. Asked by Rome if he'd ever seen a fighter squander talent to Jones' degree, white compared him to former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn.
"Never," White said. "Never in this sport. I've had my issues in the past with BJ. I think BJ could have been one of the best ever, you know, and I've had my issues with BJ, but Jon Jones is, by far."