Jones marks triumphant UFC return after claiming heavyweight title

Jon Jones is the new UFC heavyweight king. (Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Jon Jones further solidified his case as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Greatest of All Time after submitting challenger Ciryl Gane in the first round to clinch the heavyweight championship belt last March 5, 2023.

After almost three years of absence in the legendary octagon, Jones hardly broke a sweat as if he didn’t leave the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) world when he scored a stunning guillotine choke with 2:04 remaining in the first round.

Despite the bigger frame after moving up to the heavyweight division, Jones still moved like a light heavyweight and looked loose inside the octagon soon as the official match bell rang.

Jones started with his signature leg kicks and sized Gane up with his crisp jabs but the French fighter countered by throwing long straight punches to maintain his distance.

The real action started during the four-minute mark of the fight after Jones quickly evaded Gane’s big left straight.

Jones was then quick to grapple Gane’s body and took him down to the canvass. Despite the strength that the Muay Thai fighter had, the former light heavyweight king locked up his legs to establish a mounting position in the cage area.

After noticing that Gane dropped his hands to defend the ground and pound, Jones didn’t think twice and pulled off the guillotine choke to end the bout in style.

“I’m so excited. I’ve been working for this for a long time. A lot of people thought I wasn’t coming back. I was reading that all the time. But I was faithful to the goal and faithful to the mission,” said Jones.

Everyone thought that Jones would stay in the light heavyweight division after holding the belt for 1,501 days.

However, Jones shocked everybody when he announced that he is moving up to the heavyweight division to challenge former king Francis Ngannou but negotiations failed to materialize after the Cameroonian striker left the UFC.

Gane then stepped up to the challenge as the division’s no.1 contender but failed to hurt Jones in the entire fight.

With the win, Jones improved his professional MMA record to 27 wins and a loss and is expected to fight former champion Stipe Miocic for his first title defense.


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