UFC legend Jon Jones eyeing April return to cage after insane body transformation for long-awaited heavyweight debut
UFC HALL-OF-FAMER Jon Jones is planning to make his long-awaited heavyweight debut in April.
The former dominant light-heavyweight champion hasn't graced the cage since his controversial UFC 247 title defence against Dominick Reyes.
The former pound-for-pound king has used his time on the sidelines – which has in part been down to a pay dispute with the UFC brass – to bulk up ahead of his long-awaited move up in weight.
And after nearly two years on the sidelines, Bones is looking to rumble with the UFC's big boys in the spring.
He told KRQE: “I’m looking to fight somewhere in April, possibly Madison Square Garden, or a total opposite date, possibly July at International Fight Week.
“Those are the two dates that I’m kind of eyeing. I think it will depend on who wins in January between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, and we’ll just take it from there.”
Jones, 34, revealed he'd be keeping an eye on the winner of January's heavyweight title unification bout between former team-mates Ngannou and Gane last month.
He said: "I’m just a few months away now, can’t wait to see who wins this fight in January."
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Jones could've fought for the heavyweight strap this year had he opted not to continue packing on the pounds.
His advisor – veteran boxing promoter Richard Schaefer – recently revealed to SunSport: "When I started to get involved with Jon, we, needed to, sort of, repair the relationship between him and the UFC.
"And I always had a great relationship with Dana White, he's a friend of mine, and with Hunter Campbell as well. So I was able to repair that relationship.
"And I was able to explain to Jon as well that going on Twitter and having these Twitter feuds going back and forth is really not conducive to getting a fight done. He understood that as well.
"He understood and we achieved that.
"And then I made tremendous progress in having the UFC agree to allow Jon to fight in his next fight to fight for the UFC heavyweight championship.
"We were initially targeting November, December.
"But Jon is sort of like the guy behind me here [points to a picture], Bernard Hopkins, very structured in his preparations.
"So he felt just felt that he needed a little bit more time to really gain the right muscle mass.
"He's like 260, now, and he wanted to move up to 275lbs.
"Not just gain weight, but gain weight in a smart way and still be explosive. So he needed a little bit more time.
"The UFC, again, were on board and we were starting to talk of a structure of deal for that big heavyweight fight."
Jones' return to the octagon currently hinges on the outcome of the ongoing legal proceedings against him.
In September, he was arrested by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and charged with misdemeanour battery domestic violence and injuring or tampering with a vehicle just hours after being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Jones has denied any wrongdoing in the case, which has yet to be resolved.
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