Jon Jones: 4 Fighters Who Could Face UFC Heavyweight Champion Next As Bones Nears Return From Injury

Jon Jones: 4 Fighters Who Could Face UFC Heavyweight Champion Next As Bones Nears Return From Injury

Byron Pillay
April 26, 2024 at 12:28 PM
  • Jon Jones last fought in the Octagon in March 2023 when he beat Cyril Gane for the title
  • Jones tore his pectoral tendon in November last year but has started training once more
  • Tom Aspinall is the Interim Heavyweight champion, and should be first to take on Jones

Could Jon Jones be making a return to the UFC soon?

The heavyweight champion has not been in action since March 2023, but is slowly edging towards a full recovery.

Jon Jones is slowly returning from injury and could return to action soon.
Jon Jones will have no shortage of challengers for the heavyweight title when he returns from injury. Image: Chris Graythen.
Source: Getty Images

As noted by Bleacher Report, Jones has shared a photo of himself back in the gym, leaving fight fans wondering when he will headline a card again.

With Bones well on the way to fighting once more, Sports Brief looks at who his next competitor could be.

4 MMA athletes who could fight Jones

Stipe Miocic

After winning the heavyweight belt, the UFC were dead set on having the champion defend against Stipe Miocic.

Miocic is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, while Jones is arguably the greatest fighter of all time.

Unfortunately for Dana White, plans to pit the two against each other at UFC 295 in November 2023 failed when Jones tore his pectoral tendon.

Miocic was never given a chance to fight someone else for an interim belt, but plans are still in place to have the duo meet in the Octagon when Jones is medically cleared.

Fight fans have had mixed reactions about the fight, believing that the new crop of young fighters be given a title shot.

Cyril Gane

If there's anyone who wants to prove themselves against Jones, it's Cyril Gane.

The Frenchman fought Bones for the heavyweight title but was severely outclassed in that bout.

Bon Gamin was forced to tap out in round one against the former Lightweight champion. He's since picked up a win against Serghei Spivak and will be eager to climb back up the rankings and avenge his loss against the champion.

Tom Aspinwall

The British fighter is currently the Interim Heavyweight champ but doesn't appear to be first in line to unify the belts against Jones.

With the UFC pushing for Miocic to face off against the champion, Aspinall has been largely forgotten.

Despite winning the title at UFC 295 in November 2023 against Sergei Pavlovich, Aspinall has not been able to defend it as the UFC waits for Jones to return.

As interim champ, he will have to meet the champion to unify the belts at some stage, but there is no timeline on when that will be. Aspinall himself doesn't think the bout will ever take place.

As noted by MMA Fighting, he said he would be very surprised if Jones ever stepped into the Octagon with him.

Alex Pereira

This may be a long shot but imagine a fight between Poatan and Jones.

The Brazilian has proved to be a force to be reckoned with since joining the UFC and has already won titles in two different weight divisions.

After successfully defending his Light Heavyweight title against Jamahal Hill, Pereira even hinted at moving up to heavyweight.

If he gets his wish and lights up the division before Jones returns, he could be an exciting prospect for the current champ.

Pereira could also battle Aspinall first before making his way up to take on the GOAT.

Jones suffers nasty injury while training

Sports Brief previously reported how Jones suffered an injury while training for an upcoming fight.

The UFC champ was preparing for a bout against Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight title when it happened.

The heavyweight tore his pectoral tendon while training and needed to undergo surgery to repair it.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.