Jon Jones back in training as return from injury edges closer

The UFC heavyweight champion suffered an injury in October, derailing a title defence against Stipe Miocic

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Wednesday 24 April 2024 11:09 BST
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Jon Jones is back in training for the first time since suffering the injury that derailed his UFC title defence against Stipe Miocic.

Jones tore his pectoral tendon in October, two weeks before he was due to defend the heavyweight belt against Miocic, with his recovery expected to take the best part of a year. Subsequently, Tom Aspinall knocked out Sergei Pavlovich to win the interim title in November.

That result has muddied the title picture at heavyweight, with Aspinall in line to challenge Jones but the UFC insisting that Miocic will get the next shot at the undisputed champion. Jones, too, has been resolute in declaring that heavyweight great Miocic will be his first challenger.

Meanwhile, Aspinall has been linked with a potential interim-title defence, a rarity in the UFC.

“First day back in the gym since my injury, felt amazing,” Jones wrote on Instagram on Wednesday (24 April). “And so it began.”

Jones, 36, recently refused to pose for a face-off with Aspinall, 31, when the pair met at a fan event. Briton Aspinall is rumoured to headline the UFC’s next UK event – in Manchester, at an unknown date – potentially against Curtis Blaydes or Ciryl Gane.

Jones and Miocic’s planned 2023 clash was due to take place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden – where Aspinall went on to beat Pavlovich – and the UFC will return to the venue in November. Jones vs Miocic could, therefore, be held at the iconic arena, 12 months after it was initially set to take place there.

American Jones is a former two-time light-heavyweight champion and is widely seen as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

Meanwhile, Miocic is the consensus greatest heavyweight in UFC history, but the 41-year-old has not fought since losing the title to Francis Ngannou via knockout in March 2021.

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