TMZ Sports first broke the news of the main event clash. Several sources later confirmed the bout to MMA Fighting.
UFC president Dana White shed further light on the situation, claiming that the Jones must first have his application for licensure granted before he can compete at the Vegas event.
“Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC [sic] in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd,” White told TMZ. “Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his Light Heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a 5 round main event at the T-Mobile Arena.”
The location of the event was moved on a week’s notice after an abnormality was found in Jones’ pre-fight drug tests. As the NSAC could not convene for a hearing to decide if the findings should result in Jones being licensed for the contest, the event was moved to Inglewood, Calif.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) granted Jones a license for the bout. According to CSAC executive officer, Andy Foster, the abnormality in Jones’ test results came from his positive drug test back in July 2017, which resulted in Jones being suspended for 15 months.
Smith (31-13-0) is currently on a three-fight win streak, with all victories coming since his move up to the light heavyweight bracket. Since moving up a weight class he has defeated two former champions, Rashad Evans and Mauricio Rua, with his latest victory coming against former title contender, Volkan Oezdemir.