Jon Jones' latest positive test for a banned substance leading up to UFC 214 "is a set-up" against the light heavyweight champion, according to coach and team-mate Frank Lester.
Lester is a coach at Jackson Wink Academy, where Jones trains, and he took to Facebook to defend his friend after the UFC confirmed the United States Anti-Doping Agency had informed Bones of another potential violation (Warning: Some language NSFW):
MMAjunkie's Steven Marrocco provided a transcription of Lester's comments and reported the in-competition sample was taken on July 28, at the weigh-ins and a day prior to his rematch against Daniel Cormier.
TMZ originally reported Jones had been stripped of his light heavyweight title as he eyes yet another suspension from the sport, although Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White clarified that isn't the case, per ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
Jones defeated Cormier via knockout in the third round of their rematch bout on July 29, and the former's latest alleged drug offence coaxed a solemn reaction out of ex-fighter-turned-pundit Brendan Schaub:
Brendan Schaub @BrendanSchaub
Damn. Damn. https://t.co/HSpVf7aUsb2017-8-23 00:48:18
UFC 214 was Jones' comeback fixture after more than a year out of the Octagon, having previously been suspended for another positive drug test in July 2016, when he was last preparing to face Cormier, than at UFC 200.
Marrocco reported Bones is facing a potential four-year ban considering this isn't his first drug offence, and MMA reporter Chamatkar Sandhu provided footage of White saying his UFC career may be over as a result:
Chamatkar Sandhu @SandhuMMA
Dana White on Jon Jones, "This might be the end of his career." https://t.co/fu9uGyrgLc2017-8-23 02:35:49
Cormier's loss to Jones at UFC 214 would be ruled a no-contest rather than a loss on the former's record if the failed test holds, per Okamoto, this being but the latest time DC has in some way been let down by his arch nemesis.
The 19-2 former light heavyweight champion told MMA Fighting of his opinion on Tuesday's news and said:
"It's hard to find words to describe how I'm feeling right now. I'm disappointed to hear the news. It's very emotional.
"We as athletes are entitled to due process, and I will refrain from saying much more until I know exactly what happened.
"In my mind, on July 29, I competed and I lost. I thought Jon Jones was the better man that day. I don't know what to think anymore. I can't believe we are going through all of this again. We will see what happens next."
Former UFC fighter turned Fox Sports commentator Kenny Florian didn't hold back in his assessment of the matter and what this means for Jones:
FOX Sports: UFC @UFCONFOX
"He (Jon Jones) threw away a 🐐 career with this failed drug test..." -- @kennyflorian https://t.co/RbwgKh5clz2017-8-23 02:52:48
Jones' last alleged violation may put the career of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time at serious risk.