Jon Jones will defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 235, a report by TMZ Sports explains.
Jones has already signed a bout agreement and will compete against Anthony Smith in the main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 2.
The only obstacle, however, is that Jones is still seeking clearance from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) after a “long-term metabolite” was recently discovered in his system. This finding was the primary reason why the UFC moved an entire event from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on one week’s notice in late December. Although the UFC insisted that experts had found no evidence of re-administration, the NAC merely requested adequate time to review the data and make a fair assessment – this was a risk that the UFC was not willing to take.
The NAC now has sufficient time to review the evidence and come to a conclusion, and the UFC is clearly expecting their assessment to match that of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), that allowed Jones to participate at UFC 232.
It was on that night when Jones successfully reclaimed the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship after he masterfully worked past Alexander Gustafsson inside three rounds. Jones earned a third-round KO/TKO victory by finishing the fight on the mat after beating up Gustafsson’s lead leg while standing. The win was Jones’ first official victory since April 2016 when he defeated Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision.
In a matchup that nobody thought was possible this time last year, he’ll now have an opportunity to defend his title for the first time since January 2015 when he meets #3 ranked light heavyweight, Anthony Smith.
After making the move up to the UFC’s 205-pound division in June 2018, Smith proceeded to defeat Rashad Evans, Mauricio Rua and Volkan Oezdemir in a matter of just over four months. Smith made light work of Evans and Rua, finishing both opponents within the first 90 seconds of the contest. The win against Oezdemir was an impressive one, especially considering that Oezdemir himself had rapidly risen to a light heavyweight title shot earlier that year. Smith submitted the former title challenger in the third round at UFC Fight Night 138.
Assuming all goes to plan for the UFC and Jones, Smith will have an opportunity to take the title away from the champion on March 2.
Jake is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief, based in Tasmania, Australia.