Jon Jones targeting '2nd quarter of 2022' for return

Christian Petersen / UFC / Getty

Jon Jones anticipates his return to the Octagon will come more than two calendar years since the veteran's last bout.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion is still training to fight at heavyweight while eyeing a date in the new year.

"I think it will be sometime in the second quarter of 2022," Jones said when asked when he'll fight next, according to MMA Junkie.

"Bones" last fought Dominick Reyes in February 2020. He vacated his light heavyweight title in August of that year to pursue a heavyweight megafight. But a blockbuster bout with heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has yet to materialize.

Ngannou captured the heavyweight crown in March, but as negotiations for a fight with Jones broke down, the UFC instead pitted Derrick Lewis against Ciryl Gane for an interim title matchup in August.

Now Ngannou and Gane are on track to meet in a future heavyweight championship unification bout, which will only lengthen Jones' stay on the sidelines.

Still, Jones maintains a heavyweight clash with Ngannou is the only fight he seeks.

"Fighting for the title is what I want the most, for sure. I want to fight the biggest fights," Jones said.

"I think Francis is the biggest star at heavyweight, him and I, and he has the title so that's what I want," he added.

Gane could defeat Ngannou and ruin Jones' two-year plan. Jones said that would be a major hit, particularly to his bank account.

"I think it changes what the pay will be. I don't think it's a megafight, Ciryl Gane winning," he said.

"It'd be a lot of money lost if Francis were to lose, but I don't care who wins the fight, I just want the championship," Jones continued.

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Jon Jones targeting '2nd quarter of 2022' for return
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