Jones to face Hager in Dec. 9 grappling match
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is set to return to competition - but it won't be in MMA.
Jones will meet Bellator fighter and pro wrestler Jake Hager in a grappling match under the Fury Professional Grappling banner on Dec. 9 in New Jersey, Jones announced Saturday on Twitter.
An official for Fury Professional Grappling, which is run by a regional MMA promotion called Cage Fury Fighting Championships, confirmed the yet-to-be-announced booking to MMA Fighting's Mike Heck.
Jones hasn't competed in combat sports since a successful UFC title defense against Dominick Reyes in February 2020. "Bones," who vacated his title in August 2020, was expected to challenge Francis Ngannou for the heavyweight belt earlier in 2021, but multiple financial disputes with the UFC have kept the 34-year-old sidelined.
In September, Jones was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with misdemeanor battery domestic violence and injuring or tampering with a vehicle.
Jones has grappled in the past; he submitted UFC legend Dan Henderson at a Submission Underground event in 2016.
Hager, a former WWE star who now performs in the All Elite Wrestling (AEW) organization, began competing in MMA in 2019 and has put together a 3-0 (1 NC) record. All of his fights have happened in Bellator. The 39-year-old hasn't fought since October 2020, when he earned a split decision over Brandon Calton.
In response to Jones' tweet, Hager made it clear that the grappling match wasn't official, saying "no terms have been discussed" and that he hadn't yet signed a contract.