UFC eyes Jon Jones’ title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2

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The UFC is wasting no time planning Jon Jones‘ next fight.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN that the promotion wants Jones to defend his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2 in Las Vegas.

“Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the [Nevada State Athletic Commission] in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2,” White said.

“Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five-round main event.”

Jones (23-1) is expected to appear before the Nevada commission on Jan. 29. The championship bout will not be official until after the results of that hearing.

Jones was supposed to fight Alexander Gustafsson in Las Vegas at UFC 232 last weekend, but the UFC opted to move the event at the very last minute because of a licensing issue.

Early last month, Jones submitted a drug test that tested positive for a trace amount of the steroid metabolite. It was the same steroid he tested positive for (and was suspended for) in 2017, and multiple experts said there was no evidence Jones had readministered any steroid.

Due to the circumstances of that test result, however, Nevada would have required an emergency hearing to license Jones. That hearing was ultimately delayed until Jan. 29, and the UFC moved the entire event to California, where Jones was already licensed.

Fighting out of JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jones reclaimed his 205-pound title by defeating Gustafsson via third-round TKO last weekend in Los Angeles.

Smith (31-13) is a former middleweight. He surged into title contention in 2018 by finishing Rashad Evans, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Volkan Oezdemir. He trains out of Factory X in Denver.



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