The UFC has been looking to put together a highly anticipated interim heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic in a blockbuster pay-per-view main event that would match the best light heavyweight and the best heavyweight in UFC history.
However, when the fight will happen — or even if it will — has still not been determined.
Jones adviser Richard Schaefer told ESPN on Tuesday that the UFC initially asked Jones about fighting Miocic at UFC 276 on July 2 in Las Vegas. It would have been the headliner of the UFC’s annual International Fight Week. But Jones wrote in a tweet Tuesday that he was informed Miocic would not be ready for that date.
Jones wrote that he’d be willing to wait until September for Miocic, but was “disappointed” the fight would not happen sooner.
“Stipe is saying that he will be at his absolute peak in September,” Jones tweeted. “I’m disappointed but patient, I want the heavyweight goat at his absolute best. I’ll wait until September. No excuses.”
Schaefer said Jones is and has been ready and said as long as the interim title is on the line, it doesn’t matter whom the opponent is.
Jones has not fought since he defended his UFC light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February 2020. The all-time great relinquished his title in August 2020 with the intention of moving up and challenging for the heavyweight belt. That goal has not changed, Schaefer said. Jones has never truly lost in MMA, with his only defeat coming via controversial disqualification in 2009.
“We just want to fight for the heavyweight title,” Schaefer said. “Jon doesn’t give a s— against who. As long as it’s for the title. He’s been waiting, he’s been training. He’s mentally and physically ready.”
Schaefer said Jones, 34, would be willing to wait until September, as he tweeted, but the situation has to be hashed out and September is the latest he’ll wait. Schaefer said he has a call scheduled Wednesday with UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell to discuss the situation.
“We would not want to sit around another two months and now we’re talking December,” said Schaefer, a longtime boxing promoter who began advising Jones last year.
Miocic, 39, has not fought since he dropped the belt to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 in March 2021. He owns the most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (four) and is a two-time heavyweight champ.
Ngannou remains the UFC heavyweight champion but had knee surgery last month, putting him on the shelf until either late 2022 or early 2023. His absence makes it likely the UFC will institute an interim title. Ngannou’s UFC contract status is also up in the air, with indications he might leave as a free agent next year and fight heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury in an exhibition.