Jon Jones has done everything but make the walk to the octagon — and now he’ll do that for the first time in more than three years on Saturday night at UFC 285.
The former light heavyweight champion moves up to heavyweight to challenge for the vacant title against former interim champ Ciryl Gane in the highly anticipated main event. On Friday, Jones and Gane stepped on the scale on last time for the fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Jones, as he’s done pretty much all of fight week, soaked in the moment before stepping on stage to face off with Gane,
“I was blessed with a tremendous gift, and it’s an honor to display it in front of all of you guys,” Jones said after the staredown. “Tomorrow night, and still, I’ll say. Let’s get it.”
Gane gets the opportunity to face Jones after Francis Ngannou vacated the title and made the decision to leave the UFC earlier this year.
Getting the chance to face Jones is something Gane — despite being heavily booed by the fans in Las Vegas all week — is not taking for granted.
“This fight is like a big bonus for me,” Gane said. “I’m so thankful for this opportunity. If I win tomorrow, I get the belt, I’m the baddest guy on the planet, and because of his career — he’s the GOAT — that’s an extra bonus for me. I’m really happy to be here.”
In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko attempts to defend her flyweight title for the eighth time against surging contender Alexa Grasso.
Shevchenko is heavily favored to do just that — and she explained why in her interview following the staredown at ceremonial weigh-ins.
“Feeling strong as always because [I’m] fight ready, and I know tomorrow I’ll face a strong opponent,” Shevchenko said. “Whatever she’s good at, I’m better — better than double — and tomorrow night, you’re going to see action. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Unsurprisingly, Grasso was all business. She was thankful to all of the fans in Las Vegas and promised an exciting 125-pound championship battle.
“I cant wait to perform for you, and thank you so much. It will be a war,” Grasso said.