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- The former UFC champion Jon “Bones” Jones is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time – but he has plenty of baggage.
- The American has failed drug tests, issued a death threat, and once injured a pregnant woman in a hit-and-run incident.
- But UFC’s president, Dana White, has signaled he’s ready to welcome Jones back this year.
Some of the biggest names in combat sports could return to fight in UFC this year.
When asked in an interview with the YouTube channel TSN Tube last week whether box-office draws like Irish striker Conor McGregor, professional wrestler Brock Lesnar, and former light heavyweight ruler Jon Jones would compete in 2018, UFC’s president, Dana White, said “yes.”
McGregor and Lesnar are the two best-selling pay-per-view fighters in UFC history, but it is the return of Jones, UFC’s most controversial champion, that would be the most interesting.
Jones is one of the best fighters ever
Jones, a 30-year-old two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, has the most successful title defences in the history of the division. He remains the youngest fighter to win a UFC championship and has defeated a string of elite opponents, including Dan Cormier, Rashad Evans, and Quinton Jackson.
He has a large reach (84.5 inches) and an appreciation of distance management, and he’s an incredible striker. As Jones has gotten older, he has become a well-rounded and scarily good mixed martial artist.
Here’s what makes Jones so lethal:
But Jones has not fought since July, when he defeated Cormier. The victory was scrapped from the records after a urine sample he provided during a weigh-in tested positive for anabolic steroids.
Jones was suspended provisionally and could be hit with a four-year ban by the California State Athletic Commission if he is found guilty.
But Jones has said he did not knowingly consume the banned substance, and he passed a polygraph test in an attempt to clear his name, according to the SBNation blog MMA Fighting.
This has opened the door for a potential return – and Jones has indicated he’s ready to reestablish his authority in the UFC Octagon. On Twitter earlier this week, he said, “My best is yet to come.”
Thanks brother, my best is yet to come https://t.co/mlaIFAUfeo
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) January 21, 2018
Jones’ coach, Greg Jackson, speaking on the “Talking Brawls” podcast last month, said he was “hoping new information” would come out this year and that Jones would be “back in the game.”
But Jones has a long history of misdemeanours
Though Jones would feature prominently in conversations about the best fighters of all time, his record is blighted by misdemeanours.
In the cage, Jones was once disqualified from a fight for using illegal elbow strikes. He has frequently attempted to rake opponents in the eyes, and he threw punches at his rival during a weigh-in ceremony.
He even told Cormier – when he thought he was off the air – “I will literally kill you.”
His record outside the UFC scene is not much better.
In recent years, he said he binged cocaine, has been accused of making homophobic comments, and pleaded guilty to a charge in a hit-and-run crash in New Mexico that injured a pregnant woman. Jones fled the scene but left a stack of cash, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana in the car, police said.
Jones is one of UFC’s most controversial champions. But that may be why White is so keen to get him back in the cage.