Jon Jones headlines UFC 285 against Ciryl Gane for the undisputed heavyweight title

Jon Jones will make his comeback at UFC 285 after three years out of action as he takes on Ciryl Gane for the vacant undisputed heavyweight crown.

Published: 16 January 2023 - 11.26am
Jon Jones

Jon Jones is set for a return to UFC after three years out of the sport after it was announced he will fight Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight title in March.

The 35-year-old has been out of action since 2020 when he defended the light heavyweight title in a close-run fight against Dominick Reyes in Texas.

Jones vacated the 205lb title shortly afterwards before taking an extended hiatus from the sport while negotiating a new contract with the promotion in anticipation of moving up to the heavyweight division.

It had been expected he would return against the former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou but the Cameroonian superstar has since been released from the promotion following his own protracted contractual dispute with UFC bosses.

Jones boasts a 26-1 record as a light-heavyweight but Gane will be his first opponent as a heavyweight.

The American is a two-time UFC light-heavyweightchampion and defended his title 11 times between 2011 and 2020. He also became the youngest champion in UFC history when he beat Maurício Rua at the age of 23.

“Jon Jones has been willing and ready and able to fight anybody. He didn't care who it was,” White said.

On Ngannou’s exit, White added: “We did everything we could to try and make this fight happen and try to give him a fight, but he has got it in his head that there are bigger opportunities outside of UFC with lesser opponents.

“We're going to let him do that. We're going to release him from his contract. We're going to give up our right to match and he can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”

Former heavyweight title challenger Gane said:  “I’m really happy to be the first guy in this division fighting with Jon Jones. And I’m sure it’s going to be – he’s a great athlete.

“I know I’ve got good footwork at first, I think I’m a little bit more well-rounded [than Ngannou].

“I look a little bit more like Jon Jones. Yes, when you have a big guy that just wants to kill you with one punch, it’s easier for a guy well-rounded and smart like Jon Jones to manage the situation. 

“Me, I am not like that. I like to manage the situation. It’s going to be really good.”