Jon Jones Targeted for UFC Card at MSG on July 30; Stipe Miocic Unlikely to Be Ready

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 27, 2022

Jon Jones goes through his pre-fight routine in the ring before a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
AP Photo/Michael Wyke

UFC is hoping to include former two-time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on a potential card at Madison Square Garden in New York City on July 30, according to MMA insider Ariel Helwani.

While Jones has expressed interest in fighting former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, Helwani noted Miocic is unlikely to be ready for a July 30 fight, making it a fluid situation.

Jones tweeted Tuesday that Miocic believes he will be ready to go in September and that he would be willing to wait until then to face Miocic:

BONY @JonnyBones

Stipe is saying that he will be at his absolute peak in September. I’m disappointed but patient, I want the heavyweight goat at his absolute best. I’ll wait until September. No excuses

Five UFC events have been held at MSG, and a July show at the World's Most Famous Arena would mark the first UFC pay-per-view there since November 2021.

The 34-year-old Jones is widely regarded as one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time with a career record of 26-1 with one no contest to his credit in 28 professional MMA fights.

Jones dominated the UFC light heavyweight division for a decade, but he has made it clear over the past couple of years that he desires to move up to heavyweight.

As a result, he vacated the UFC light heavyweight title in August 2020 and set his sights on new challenges.

Jones has not fought since UFC 247 in February 2020 when he beat Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision, meaning his layoff has surpassed the two-year mark.

While part of the reason for the layoff has undoubtedly had to do with Jones trying to transform his body and better prepare it for the rigors of the heavyweight division, it is fair to wonder if he will have to knock off some rust.

Because of that, having a heavyweight tune-up fight at the July 30 MSG show before stepping inside the Octagon with Miocic could be beneficial.

Miocic has twice held the UFC heavyweight title and has beaten some heavy hitters along the way, including Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier.

Aside from the reigning UFC heavyweight champion in Ngannou, Miocic is perhaps the biggest challenge there is in the heavyweight division, especially for someone stepping in cold.

If Miocic indeed won't be ready until at least September, pitting Jones against another heavyweight contender in July would be an ideal way to build up to the money fight at a later date.