Despite saying he has not spoken to Jon Jones since his disastrous pull out at UFC 200, it seems the former light-heavyweight champion is still on good terms with Dana White judging by the UFC president’s latest comments.
On Monday night White spoke to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, and stated that Jones will get to decide who he fights on his long-awaited comeback.
Ideally, the UFC president would like to see Jones rematch his arch nemesis Daniel Cormier for the light-heavyweight title upon his return at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California on July 29.
The Jackson Wink prospect is serving a suspension from USADA until the first week of July. Nonetheless, an instant title shot would all depend on whether Jones was ready or not, according to White.
“Cormier is available to fight on July 8, but that time frame doesn’t work for Jon Jones. Cormier already told me he’s willing to fight either Jones or Manuwa.
“If Jon Jones is ready to fight [by UFC 214] on July 29, we’ll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally.”
However, White also confirmed that if Jones were to take a tune up fight first then more than likely Jimi Manuwa would challenge Cormier for the light-heavyweight strap at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas.
As I mentioned on @SportsCenter, per Dana White, UFC ready to grant Jon Jones title shot July 29. If Jones wants tuneup, it's DC vs. Manuwa.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 18, 2017
As of late, the pair have traded shots on Twitter and White is well aware of the tension between the two.
“Jimi wants Cormier. They got into it at UFC 210 [earlier this month] and Jimi told me he’s never been talked to like that before. We’ll see how this plays out.”
Given that White has publicly stated that the next time Jones fights he will not be in the main event, it will be very interesting to see how this whole situation plays out.
David O’Donovan, Pundit Arena