Jon Jones will remain in the light heavyweight division after all. The announcement of his latest fight came just hours after back-and-forth Twitter banter with former heavyweight king Stipe Miocic. Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported that Jon Jones will defend his belt against Thiago Santos on July 6, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Nevada in the main event.
After another suspension following a win that became a no contest against Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones made up for lost time. He dismantled Alexander Gustafsson to win the light heavyweight belt back then opted for a short turn around. Jones got right back to it, defending his belt just over two months later. In March, he picked apart title challenger Anthony Smith in a dominant decision win. The latest layoff for Jones will be only four months before he fights another crafty veteran and former middleweight in Thiago Santos.
Brazilian knockout artist Thiago Santos has entered the light heavyweight division with about as much subtlety as a tornado. After 24 fights as a middleweight, Santos found himself treading water and short of a title shot, and has since moved up to 205 pounds. He has fought three times in the last six months at his new weight, winning all three by knockout. With wins over Eryk Anders, Jimi Manuwa, and Jan Blachowicz, Santos has defeated some of the best the division has to offer on his way to Jones.
This fight could be one of the most exciting light heavyweight matchups fans have seen in a while. Both men have great boxing, devastating kicks, and outstanding yet underrated ground games. Santos is sure to come in as a sizable underdog, but he is a man who can put anyone’s lights out with one strike.
The UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight is expected to come after a recently announced co-main event between Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm for the women’s bantamweight title. Another light heavyweight tilt between Luke Rockhold and Jan Blachowicz is the only other confirmed fight for UFC 239.