Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is still focused on his transition up a weight class, but things are perhaps proving to be more difficult than he expected.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), for the first time publicly, expressed that he’s encountered unforeseen obstacles during his ongoing transformation toward being a heavyweight fighter.
“Man, I’m telling you, I’ve always been the skinny one in my family. Becoming a proper heavy weight is a lot more difficult than I had ever anticipated. I want to do it right the first time.”
In a pair of follow-up tweets, Jones outlined a timeline for his divisional debut. The 33-year-old fighter estimated he could be away from competition for another year should it take that long for him to correctly come to form.
“Honestly I feel like the only people that it benefits, me jumping in their [sic] early are the other heavy weights,” Jones wrote in the first of the two tweets. “The way I’m training, I’m gonna be a real problem this time next year. I’m comfortable enough to wait and that’s exactly what I’ll do.”
A Twitter user replied, “Another full year out?”
“Yes, I got a feeling you guys will still be around,” Jones answered. “The sport should be bigger than ever by then.. Always looking on the bright side.”
Jones has not competed since a successful February 2020 title defense against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston. In the months following the win, Jones and UFC president Dana White, who have rarely seen eye-to-eye on issues, have engaged in a public spat that revolves around contract negotiations. Their differences have continued since, with Jones having vacated the 205-pound title. At one point, Jones even tweeted asking for his promotional release.
In recent interviews, White hinted that he’s not ruling out the idea that Jones will never compete again and did not indicate he is bothered by that scenario.
Initially discussed as the next title challenger for Francis Ngannou, Jones has moved further and further away from title contention in the plans laid out by White. After Jones expressed a lack of interest in fighting former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, White indicated that would simply mean Miocic leapfrogged Jones in the pecking order.