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Morning Report: Jon Jones names potential dates for UFC return, praises Henry Cejudo’s mentorship

Jon Jones Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

22 months ago, Jon Jones stepped in the octagon for the final time at light heavyweight, eking out a decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC at UFC 247. Following his win, Jones weighed his options before ultimately choosing to vacate the light heavyweight title with designs on finally moving up to heavyweight. Now, nearly two years later, Jones is close to having a return date set.

“I’m looking to fight somewhere in April, possibly Madison Square Garden, or a total opposite date, possibly July at International Fight Week,” Jones told KRQE, an Albuequerque television station. “Those are the two dates that I’m kind of eyeing. I think it will depend on who wins in January between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and we’ll just take it from there.”

Ngannou and Gane face each other in the main event of UFC 270 on Jan. 22 for the heavyweight title, with Jones expected to be next in line for the winner. It will be a long-time coming for Jones, who fans have wanted to see move up to heavyweight for years, but when he finally does, Jones will do it without one of his most tenured coaches by his side. Earlier this year, after Jones was arrested for battery domestic violence, his head coach Mike Winkeljohn asked Jones to leave the gym, which led to a falling out between the two that saw Jones rip Winkeljohn as a “miserable bastard.” Now, Jones seems to have put those animosities aside.

“Winkeljohn and I, we’ve had a great relationship over the years,” Jones said. “We’ve done a lot of awesome things together, made a lot of money together, brought a lot of world championships to the city of Albuquerque. It’s been a wonderful journey and I do believe everything kind of has its time. It’s been a good thing and I’ll always root for Wink. I want him to do well, I want his athletes to do well, but I think I’ve had my time with them and it’s time for a new chapter.”

That new chapter for Jones is at Fight Ready MMA in Scottsdale, AZ where he has been training with former two division UFC champion and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. Jones says he is still working with Greg Jackson and many of his coaches from JacksonWinkeljohn, but that having Cejudo in his corner moving forward is going to be huge for the greatest light heavyweight of all time.

“It’s amazing,” Jones said. “Henry Cejudo is amazing. He’s very family-oriented. He loves martial arts with all of his heart, and he’s a man of God, as well. We have that in common. It’s just a really good thing. I really enjoy the way he’s taken me under his wing and just shown me a different way of looking at the game. Not just the martial arts game, but life. We talk about happiness and being real with emotions. His coaching is more than just combat tactics. He really tries to make you the best man you can be and it really feels like he’s a guy that I need to be around.

“I’m excited to grow. I’m excited to be more honest with myself than ever before and just elevate to a new place – a new place not only as an athlete, but spiritually and mentally. I’m excited.”


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VIDEO STEW

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LISTEN UP

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Victor Henry (21-5) vs. Raoni Barcelos (16-2); UFC Vegas 45, Dec. 18.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


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