Jon “Bones” Jones in the octagon before his championship bout with Ciryl Gane.
Jon Jones is once again a world champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. After three years away from the sport, Jones claimed the belt in his first fight back at UFC 285 against Ciryl Gane. 35 year old Jonny “Bones” Jones improved his record to 27-1, and continues to uphold his title as one of the greatest talents to ever to set foot inside of the octagon.
While the UFC community had waited for the return of Jon Jones, it took him only a minute to take down Gane. Jones entered the mounted position and tried hooking in a guillotine choke. Gane fended off Jones’s first attempt, but Jones redoubled his attempts and got Gane the second time around, making him submit a little over two minutes into the fight. Jones didn’t have a spot of blood on him as he strapped on the belt once again.
Jon Jones isn’t a stranger to UFC titles. He is a two-time light heavyweight champion and after this last fight, he is now the third fighter in history to also hold a heavyweight title after holding a light heavyweight one. With eleven successful title defenses, eight of them being consecutive, he is one of the most dominant champions to ever exist in the sport. He holds the longest unbeaten streak in the history of the UFC, with nineteen wins in a row. All of these records were made many years ago, but Jones’ effortless victory over a strong fighter such as Ciryl Gane shows that even in his mid-thirties, Jones is still the same dominant fighter the UFC has been watching for years.
But why hasn’t he fought for the past three years? Problems in and out of the octagon have plagued Jones throughout his career. Jones has had near constant run-ins with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the committee that decides what drugs are illegal within sporting competition and conducts tests for said drugs. Over the years, WADA has tested and found Jones to be positive for anabolic steroids, anti-estrogen substances, and aromatase inhibitors, all of which are illegal substances in the WADA’s rulebooks due to the danger and unfair physical advantages they can bring to fighters. Through his breaches of the rules around illegal performance enhancers, Jones has incurred 27 total months of suspension over his career (specifically, one year and 15 months of suspension, each for different offenses). However, there was one drug test that held implications beyond his UFC career.
In January 2015, a WADA drug test revealed that Jones had tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite in cocaine. This led to large fines levied by the UFC and the WADA. Regarding other criminal records, in April 2015, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run, during which he ran a red light and crashed into the car of a pregnant woman, leaving the scene with her injured. This incident led to Jones being stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title, which he held at the time, and being suspended by the UFC indefinitely. He didn’t return to the UFC for six months. At other points during his career, Jones has been charged with negligent use of a firearm, aggravated DWI, and domestic violence.
Even with all of his personal and legal troubles, Jones has made a return to the UFC, a noticeable one at that. Is the UFC on the verge of another few years of Jonny “Bones” Jones on top? Is this return title victory a one-and-done, or will Jones hold the belt for some time? No one knows quite yet, and barring more of Jones’s frequent suspensions, we won’t know until his next fight, which is loosely scheduled for July 8th against Stipe Miocic, another star in the heavyweight division. Until then, our questions will have to wait.