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Jon Jones announces ‘comeback season’ in first statement since USADA verdict

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Jon Jones is back.

On Wednesday, it was reported by MMA Fighting that the former UFC light heavyweight champion had been given a 15-month suspension for his second failed drug test, which came from a sample collected in July of last year. That means Jones will be eligible to compete again on Oct. 28.

Jones has long maintained his innocence and he took to social media shortly after the verdict became public to declare his comeback intentions.

It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will. But now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead. Greatness is what I’m chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now.

When the term of Jones’s suspension is officially over in October, he will have been out of competition since UFC 214. There, the 31-year-old defeated Daniel Cormier via third-round head kick KO to reclaim the light heavyweight championship that he had previously vacated after he was arrested for his involvement in a hit-and-run in April 2015.

However, Jones’s UFC 214 triumph and title win would later be stricken from the record when he tested positive for turinabol shortly afterward. It was the second failed drug test of Jones’s career, following an incident in July 2016 when he was flagged just days prior to UFC 200. He was scheduled to face Cormier in the main event of that show, but was forced to withdraw as a result of his positive test. For that infraction, Jones received a one-year suspension from the USADA.

No indication has been given as to when Jones will actually be booked to fight again, so it remains to be seen when “comeback season” will officially begin.