FORMER light heavyweight champ Jon Jones could get a shot at the belt and make that long-awaited rematch with current titleholder Daniel Cormier if he’s up for it once his suspension ends late July, according to UFC president Dana White.
In an ESPN report, White declared on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) that he’s willing to put Jones in UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, California for the much-anticipated clash with Cormier.
But the UFC exec said it’s only if the former champ wants the rematch as his comeback fight when his one-year ban due to a failed drug test ends on the first week of July. Should Jones back off, White has Jimi Manuwa as Cormier’s next opponent but on an earlier date, possible for UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas.
"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," White said. "If Jon Jones is ready to fight [by UFC 214] on July 29, we'll see the Jones versus Cormier rematch, finally."
Jones’ camp has not responded to ESPN’s request for comments. The former 205-pound king dominated Cormier in a unanimous decision victory when they first met in UFC 182 two years ago. But Jones lost his belt after the UFC took it away for disciplinary reasons.
The rematch has failed to happen twice after Cormier was forced out of the UFC 197 fight last April due to a knee injury, while Jones was pulled from the UFC 200 match last July after testing positive for estrogen blockers he has later declared that came from an unmarked sexual enhancement pill.
White, however, didn’t say if the Cormier-Jones rematch would possibly headline UFC 214 as he has previously declared that he would not trust the 29-year-old former champ in a main event for his comeback fight.
Meanwhile, Cormier and Manuwa have already taken shots at each other on social media, vowing a potential fight between them won’t get past two rounds. The beef started right after Cormier retained his belt and retired Anthony Johnson in UFC 210, and the Twitter war escalated on Monday.
Maybe I'll do this to you jimi. Good morning haha pic.twitter.com/KKt3anRHIz— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017
I'm not trying to catch anything. Let's go! I wanna fight you! Jones needs to get his sea legs back. Where's the contract. This light work https://t.co/GIiBKUTCmN— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017