Jon Jones’ days in MMA may be numbered.
The all-time great told Fox Sports Australia in an interview published on Tuesday that his plan is to defend his UFC heavyweight title against former champion Stipe Miocic in November at New York’s Madison Square Garden and then step away from the sport. Jones had previously mentioned his retirement after that fight on Twitter.
“I think the Steppe fight is going to be a lot for me,” said Jones. “I feel like I don’t have much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic. I’ve been in the game for a long time. In my fighting years, I’m an old man. I’ve been training for a long time, I’ve been in the game for a long time. I had some small injuries. I really want to be in The neighborhood. I want to be around my family, be there for my kids. I want to be able to play with my kids, have a good head on my shoulder… I could see it was over really soon and I’m happy about it. I’m really proud of my career.”
Jones has the best resume of any fighter in MMA history. He returned three years later to win the UFC Heavyweight title from Cyril Gane via a dominant first-round submission at UFC 285 in March. Jones was a former longtime UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He owns the longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (19) and is a 15-0 record in UFC title fights.
Jones, 35, was asked about upcoming UFC heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich, who had a first-round knockout of challenger Curtis Blades last month. The problem with Pavlovich, Jones said, is “nobody knows who he is,” which makes him a high-risk, low-reward opponent.
However, Jones said a fight with former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou could motivate him to come back after Miocic. Ngannou left the UFC as a free agent early this year.
“I think the Francis Nganuu fight is worth entertaining about not retiring,” Jones said. “I think the Francis fight is going to bring in some serious returns and that will make it worth my while. Francis is an ex-champion. He’s very famous here in America and all over the world. He’s well known. He’s going to make a lot of money and that’s why I’d be willing to come back.”
For now, though, Jones said he’d be content to walk away after the Miocic fight. He said he focused on that fight until November “and then I can just focus on being a dad after that”.
“My goal now is to have another big fight against Stipe Miocic, Madison Square Garden,” Jones said. “And then he hung it from there. Who knows what the future holds from there?”