Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith Set to Headline UFC 235 in March
Jon Jones is already preparing to return to the Octagon with a main event fight against surging contender Anthony Smith expected at UFC 235 in Las Vegas on March 2.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news while speaking to TMZ on Saturday. Additional sources confirmed that verbal agreements are in place for the light heavyweight title fight assuming Jones gets cleared to fight in Nevada after an upcoming hearing expected on Jan. 29.
“Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd,” White told TMZ.
“Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five round main event at the T-Mobile Arena.”
The hearing in Nevada will address Jones’ positive drug test leading into his last fight at UFC 232 where he knocked out Alexander Gustafsson in the third round.
Jones showed trace elements of Turinabol in his system leading into the fight but USADA exonerated him of any wrongdoing while stating that the drugs found in his body in the new drug test were likely residual elements from his previous ingestion of the substance.
Jones had already served a 15-month sentence for that infraction of the UFC’s anti-doping policy.
Assuming Jones is cleared at that hearing and he receives his license, he will face off with Smith in his first title defense of 2019 after previously proclaiming that he wanted to fight at least three times this year.
As for Smith, the former middleweight turned light heavyweight has gone undefeated at 205 pounds including three straight wins with two knockouts and a submission being added to his resume.
Smith stated earlier this week that he was the only logical choice to face Jones in his next title defense and now it appears he’s getting his wish.
“I’m the only legitimate threat to Jon Jones,” Smith said. “I’m the only one that’s even got the capability of beating Jon Jones in the entire division. I think that’s gotta be next. I think I’m the next guy. There’s no one else out there who’s going to give Jon a fight. There’s no one who’s going to threaten him and there’s no one anyone else wants to see him against.”
Smith will now get his opportunity as he’s expected to face Jones in the five round main event on March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.