Dana White on Whether Jon Jones Will Fight Again in UFC: 'I Hope So'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27:  Jon Jones speaks at a press conference with UFC president Dana White at a media availability for UFC 200 at Madison Square Garden on April 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

UFC President Dana White said he's hopeful light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will eventually step inside the Octagon again despite a contract dispute with the MMA promotion.

White told TMZ Sports in an interview released Friday they've tried to hold talks with Jones, but he's sticking firm in his desire for increased pay.

"Listen, Jon Jones—we've offered—my lawyer offered to have Jon Jones come out and walk Jon Jones through the numbers, and Jon Jones was like: 'I don't give a f--k what the numbers are. This is what I want, and that's that,'" he said.

When asked whether one of the UFC's biggest draws would return, White replied: "I hope so, but that's up to him ... if he decides to never fight again, that's up to him."

Jones has hinted toward retirement in recent months amid the pay dispute.

"Honestly no, not in the stage of my career," he wrote on Twitter in May when asked whether legacy was more important than money. "I could retire today. I've already done my job. I've given this company over a decade of entertainment."

The 32-year-old New York native remained steadfast in that stance during an appearance on the Wild Ride! w/ Steve-O podcast in June, per TMZ.

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"I don't want to fight soon," Jones said. "... I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I'm worth."

Jones last fought in February, when he scored a victory by unanimous decision over Dominick Reyes to defend the light heavyweight title and move his career record to 26-1 with one no contest.

White admitted the ball is in Jones' court since his financial situation doesn't leave him in a spot where he has to fight.

"I don't know," White told TMZ. "Jon Jones has enough money to retire. He can retire. The whole Jon Jones thing has been a roller-coaster ride for many, many years. Nothing surprises me with Jon Jones."

Jones' estimated net worth is $10 million, which ranks tied for 15th all time among MMA fighters, per Dan Western of Wealthy Gorilla.

The silver lining for the UFC is Jorge Masvidal, who went through his own contract dispute, recently signed a new multifight deal with the company.

He'll help headline UFC 251 when he takes on Kamaru Usman in a welterweight championship fight Saturday night from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

White and Co. will hope for a similar resolution with Jones in the months ahead.