Jon Jones has packed on some extra muscle, and according to the former UFC light heavyweight champion, his bank account is about to as well.
Jones is set to return to the octagon for the first time in over three years, and as a heavyweight, as he faces Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 285, which takes place March 4 in Las Vegas. Recently, UFC president Dana White revealed Jones signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion. On Monday during a Twitter Spaces with Kanpai Pandas, “Bones” said the deal he already had was for the same amount of fights, but when asked if White was paying him more, Jones emphatically confirmed.
“Oh yes, he sure did,” Jones said. “I had eight fights left on my contract, I just wasn’t happy with my percentages. We just bumped up the pay and pretty much picked up where we left off with my commitment to the UFC. Hopefully I can get through all eight fights, that’s a lot of fighting at 35 years old. We’ll see.”
Should he be victorious in less than a month’s time, Jones already has his next opponent in mind, and its the longest reigning UFC heavyweight champion of all-time.
“I’ve got my sights on Stipe Miocic,” Jones said. “I think it just means the most. There’s a lot of guys out there, but for me, personally, for my legacy, to defeat the greatest heavyweight of all-time, it just means the most to me.
“As far as how soon, hopefully I get out of this fight with no serious injuries, but I’d let to get [back] out there as soon as possible. My goal is anywhere from two to three fights depending on how it looks.”
After defeating Dominick Reyes in his most recent bout at UFC 247 in February 2020, Jones vacated the light heavyweight title in hopes of a heavyweight move to challenge then champ Francis Ngannou in a mega-fight. The bout was never put together, and Ngannou has subsequently parted ways with the company as champion.
Since then, the 35-year-old has packed on size and muscle. When asked how difficult that process has been, Jones gave his response, while also noting that when he arrives in Las Vegas for the UFC 285 fight week festivities, he believes fans won’t notice too much of a difference.
“One of the hardest things was not being able to lose my shape while still trying to pack on 40 pounds,” Jones explained. “I think when the fans see me, they’ll be surprised that I still look a lot like I used to — [although] my shoulders are a lot more broader, I freaking gained a whole bunch of ass, unfortunately — but just trying to keep that shape and doing it the right way.”