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Dana White hopes to book Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya in 2021

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC President Dana White wants to see how Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya plays out.

The rivals have circled each other in interviews for the past year, but White hopes to make that matchup a reality in 2021.

“That’s the fight I would love to see,” White told BT Sport. “Somebody asked me yesterday if you could make one fight in 2021 – that’s the fight that I picked.”

White didn’t give a firm update on Jones’ comeback plans, other than to say his relationship with the former light heavyweight champion is now on good footing after a public spat that led to “Bones” relinquishing the title. He added Jones is “excited for this challenge” of moving up to heavyweight.

“Jon Jones and I had the best conversation we’ve ever had about a week ago, and he’s ready,” White said. “He’s ready to come back. His head’s in the right place, and he and I are in a really good place.”

White did clarify that Jones won’t jump the title line if he moves up one division, and slugger Francis Ngannou will be the next challenger to champ Stipe Miocic (Miocic is eying different challengers, having previously beaten Ngannou). At light heavyweight, Jones’ longtime division, Adesanya will first move up a weight class to challenge for the title currently held by Jan Blachowicz.

“They both like that idea, I love it, it’ll be fun,” White said of the light heavyweight title fight, which remains unbooked with champ Blachowicz taking personal time before defending the belt possibly in March.

There’s a lot of things that can happen in the coming months, however. White said he’s working on Jones’ next step. And he wants to see a fight fans have been clamoring for since the champs started jawing at each other.

Considered the pound-for-pound best by many (though ranked No. 2 on that list by his promoter), Jones most recently fought in February, where he defended the light heavyweight title via unanimous decision over Dominick Reyes. Adesanya in September defended the middleweight title with a stoppage of Paulo Costa.

Jones and Adesanya have escalated a war of words on Twitter, going back and forth in personal attacks that led to a warning from Adesanya.