Jon Jones’ return fight is set. And it’s a runback of one of the greatest battles in MMA history - for the UFC light heavyweight title.
Jones, who has not fought in more than 14 months, will meet Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 232 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 29. MMA Fighting confirmed a Wednesday report by ESPN.
Cormier, who has been holding both the heavyweight and light heavyweight championships, will be stripped of the 205-pound belt, as he focuses on his upcoming heavyweight title defense against Derrick Lewis at UFC 230, and the belt will go to the winner of Jones and Gustafsson.
Jones (22-1, 1 NC) last competed in a bout against Cormier on July 29, 2017, at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif. Jones won the bout on a third-round knockout, but the result was overturned and the light heavyweight title returned to Cormier after Jones failed a pre-fight drug test.
As a multiple-time offender, Jones could have been suspended four years. But last month, an arbitrator concluded that Jones unknowingly took a tainted supplement, and set his suspension at 15 months, meaning he becomes eligible to fight again in November.
Jones and Gustafsson threw down in one of the most memorable battles in UFC history at UFC 165 in Toronto on Sept. 21, 2013. Gustafsson poured it on to Jones in the first two rounds before Jones rallied over the final three to save his title and claim a unanimous decision.
It was the closest to a legitimate defeat in the cage for Jones, whose sole career blemish was a highly questionable disqualification in a match he was dominating against Matt Hamill in 2009.
Gustafsson (18-4) for his part, is a top-notch competitor who is best known for coming up just a hair short in two incredible UFC light heavyweight title fights. The 31-year-old Stockholm native had an equally memorable fight with then-champion Cormier at UFC 192 in Houston on Oct. 3, 2015, losing that battle via split decision. He’s 2-0 since the loss to Cormier, with his most recent fight a fifth-round knockout of Glover Teixeira on May 28, 2017.
The announcement gives UFC 232 a pair of championship bouts, as the card will also feature the women’s superfight between UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
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