It appears as if Jon Jones might already be preparing himself, if only mentally, for another run in the Octagon. He currently is on the sidelines, holding the distinction of being the first fighter in UFC history to be stripped of three championship belts.
Jones was first stripped of the belt when he got involved in a felony hit-and-run accident in which he fled from the scene. He returned to Octagon to capture an interim version of the light heavyweight title that he lost while dealing with his legal issues. The interim belt was taken away when Jones tested positive for the banned substances clomiphene and letrozole prior to a planned unification bout with Daniel Cormier.
After returning from suspension, Jones made it all the way to the cage with Cormier at UFC 214. He knocked the champ out, making what was then defined as one of the most epic returns in sports history. That didn’t last long, however, as it was later revealed that a drug test sample collected on the day of weigh-ins returned positive for Turinabol, an anabolic steroid. Shortly thereafter, he was stripped of the title for a third time.
Jones is still in the midst of the adjudication of his anti-doping policy violation stemming from Turinabol. Despite there being no sure outcome yet, many have written the troubled former champion off, including UFC president Dana White.
“(Jon Jones is the biggest waste of talent) ever, in all of sports. The guy is so talented and gifted, God knows what he’d be doing right now if he’d never gotten in trouble,” White said recently on TSN’s MMA Show.
“He could possibly be the heavyweight champion and have the defense record that couldn’t be broken; the list goes on and on of what could have been with Jon Jones.”
One person that hasn’t yet given up is Jones.
Though he has remained relatively quiet since the UFC 214-related anti-doping policy violation came to light, he took time on Tuesday to post a retrospective video on his Instagram account, where he included a statement that appears to indicate he has no plans on fading away, regardless of the adjudication of his most recent violation.
“If I made it to the top of the mountain once, I can do it again,” he declared. “I believe there are talents inside of me I haven’t even discovered yet. There’s nothing I put my mind to that I can’t achieve, just got to be willing to put in the work. Who’s ready to work?”
Jones’ talent has never been an issue. There is no arguing that he is one of the most talented, athletically gifted, and hard-working fighters to ever grace the Octagon. The only question now, if he does attempt to rekindle his fighting career, is whether or not he can stay out of his own way.