Combat Sports

Jon Jones Returning To Fight Ciryl Gane At UFC 285

Jon Jones Returns At UFC 285
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time, Jon Jones is returning to the octagon. After an almost three-year layoff, the former UFC light-heavyweight champion will square off against former heavyweight title challenger Ciryl Gane. The two will meet on March 4th, 2023, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the UFC heavyweight title.

The news came as a shocker to many fans, as the rumored fight was Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou. Ngannou is widely considered the current best heavyweight on the planet and a fight between him and Jones would have likely broken records in terms of pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.

Jon Jones Vs. Gane News Leaked Prematurely

The official fight announcement was rushed due to a leaked billboard outside of T-Mobile Arena.

The graphic drew a lot of interest on Twitter as many speculated if it was for real or just a publicity stunt. It wasn’t until later that it was revealed that the sign was in fact legitimate and that the fight was indeed official. Dana White held a press conference to announce the bout officially. He also announced that Jon Jones had signed a new fight deal with the UFC scheduled for eight fights.

Francis Ngannou Stripped; Released

More shocking than the fight announcement was that Francis Ngannou was no longer part of the UFC roster. Ngannou and Jones had been linked together for almost a year in a potential blockbuster match-up. It finally seemed like we were close to seeing the two fighters meet inside the octagon.

Unfortunately, it likely won’t happen. White stated that he could not come to terms with Francis on a new fight deal, and they would part ways. The UFC has even waived their right to match any offers the former heavyweight champ may receive from other organizations. This is a huge blow for the heavyweight division, as Ngannou was the best fighter in the division.

Jon Jones Opens As Underdog Vs. Gane

For the first time in a long time, Jon Jones will enter a fight as an underdog. Jones’ underdog status is understandable, given his absence from the octagon and his jump up in weight. This will be his first fight at heavyweight, and many unknowns about how he will fare against much bigger, stronger opponents. While Jones has certainly put on the weight the right way, the ring rust will also likely be a factor.

Ciryl Gane is a dangerous fighter with a fantastic striking game for a heavyweight. Despite his short time with UFC, he has become one of the more recognizable faces on the roster. With his precision striking and elite defense, Gane will be a difficult test for Jones. The only weakness Gane has shown is his wrestling ability. In his lone defeat in the UFC, Gane was outwrestled by Ngannou. Jones is a far superior wrestler to Ngannous, so if he can get Gane down early, this fight could become a nightmare for Bon Gamin.

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