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Dana White: ‘Jon Jones is ready to go,’ will face Francis Ngannou or Stipe Miocic next

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There are no more delays expected for Jon Jones’ heavyweight debut, and now, he’s just awaiting word on his next opponent.

It’s been more than two years since Jones competed, but that long drought between fights could come to an end sooner rather than later. UFC President Dana White offered new details about the ex-champ’s return to action on Monday.

“Jon Jones is ready to go,” White revealed on The Jim Rome Show. “We’re just waiting for an opponent. It’s either going to be Francis [Ngannou] depending on how long his knee is going to take to recover or Stipe Miocic.”

Rumors about a fight between Jones and Miocic have been swirling for months; the UFC initially targeted a July date that never came to fruition.

Miocic wasn’t ready to return as quickly as the summer and instead hinted at a potential return by September, people familiar with the matter told MMA Fighting. The former champ hasn’t fought since he lost the UFC heavyweight title to Ngannou in March 2021.

As for Ngannou, he’s still rehabilitating his knee after undergoing ACL reconstructive surgery earlier this year following a title defense against Ciryl Gane in January.

Ngannou is also just months away from potentially becoming a free agent after fighting out his UFC contract, which is expected to expire at the end of 2022.

During an Instagram Live session, Ngannou stated that he’s approximately “two to three months” away from wrestling and grappling on his surgically repaired knee. Ngannou added he plans to sit down with the UFC soon to discuss his contract situation.

“Next week we will probably get a sit-down and talk a little bit and see where we are going,” Ngannou said. “We have to have a direction to know where we are going.”

There has been plenty of interest from both Jones and Ngannou about booking that fight in the past, but it remains to be seen if that’s the matchup the UFC ultimately pursues.

White is curious to see how Jones will look after such a long layoff – “Bones” will turn 35 in July.

“It’s very interesting because I’m a huge believer in ring rust,” White said. “But for all the negative things you could say about Jon Jones and his personal life and things that have happened, he’s the best. He’s definitely the best of all time.”

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