Jon Jones to make UFC heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane
UFC light heavyweight king, Jon Jones, has announced his plans to make his heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 285 in March. The news was officially announced by UFC President Dana White after UFC Fight Night 217, after images of the fight matchup were prematurely displayed outside T-Mobile Arena. Jones has teased a move to the heavyweight division for years and is excited to be back in the octagon after a three-year absence from the sport.
Jones said in an interview with The MMA Underground, “I feel like I’m in a really good place. MMA feels fun to me again. Obviously, with being out for three years and in a new division, there’s a lot of questions that cause me to stay up long nights, but it keeps me sharp. It’s something that I feel like I didn’t have at light heavyweight towards the end. Towards the end it just felt like another day at the office. This doesn’t feel like another day at the office. This feels very different. The nerves, the anxiety – it’s all back. I do good when I’m under pressure.”
Jones’ first opponent in the heavyweight division will be Gane, a former interim champion. Jones recognizes that Gane presents a significant challenge, but also believes that the bigger fight for his heavyweight debut would have been against Francis Ngannou. Jones said in an interview, “I feel like Francis is the more intimidating of the two. I feel like just as far as Americans go he’s more known in America. Francis was this big, scary, intimidating man, where Ciryl is relatively unknown.” Jones also acknowledges that it was a let-down not to get a fight with Ngannou, but he will have to deal with the reality of challenges that lie ahead.
Jones guarantees fans at least two more fights from him. He said, “My immediate goal is to beat Ciryl Gane and to beat Stipe Miocic. After that, it’ll be conversations with the UFC to see what makes sense. But I am guaranteeing the fans at least two more fights out of me.”