Jon Jones Claims Delayed Heavyweight Debut Not Due to Negotiation Issues

After a three-year hiatus, Jon Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) is set to make his long-awaited heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 285 headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, Jones insists that his delayed debut in the heavyweight division was not due to any negotiation issues with the UFC.

Two years ago, Jones had requested his release from the UFC citing his dissatisfaction with his pay. He subsequently hired former Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer, as his advisor. Recently, Schaefer revealed that Jones had negotiated a deal that made him the second highest paid fighter in the UFC, behind Conor McGregor. Despite this, Jones clarified that his debut in the heavyweight category being postponed was not because of money.

In an interview with ESPN, Jones stated, “The prolonging of my heavyweight debut had nothing to do with money or being upset with the UFC or anything like that. I just wanted to be at my best when I did come back, and I felt like I was ready to go about a year ago. We needed to figure out opponents, and there was just a lot of moving parts in the UFC, but now we’re here. We got Ciryl Gane, and I feel like all the stars are just aligned for me right now.”

Jones was motivated to move up to the heavyweight division after witnessing former champion Francis Ngannou defend his heavyweight title against Gane at UFC 270. Jones is determined to become a dual champion, stating, “My goal for three years now is to become the heavyweight champion of the world. It’s what I pray about, it’s what I sleep on, it’s what I dream about. It is who I am, and I will get it done. I just feel it in my whole being that I’m the best fighter on the planet, and now my job is just to prove it.”

Jones’ return to the octagon is highly anticipated, with fans eager to see how he will perform in the heavyweight division. The UFC 285 main card will be available on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.

For more information about the event, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.

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