Just over a week since picking up the UFC light heavyweight title, Jon Jones has seemingly got his first title challenger lined up.
As confirmed by UFC president Dana White to TMZ, Jones is set to take on the #3 ranked Anthony Smith subject to clearance from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
“Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd,” White told TMZ. “Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five-round main event at the T-Mobile Arena.”
Jones’ need for an application to fight in Nevada comes after his UFC 232 bout with Alexander Gustafsson was moved at a weeks notice following traces of turinabol found in a drug test.
While the UFC, its drug testing partner USADA and the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) deemed the drug’s quantity to be the remaining effects of Jones last failed test in 2017, NSAC were unable to agree with the UFC’s assessment without a hearing and couldn’t convene on short-notice.
If Jones (23-1, 1 NC) were to be granted his licence for UFC 235, it would mark the shortest turnaround in fights for ‘Bones’ since 2011 at three months.
Smith (31-13) meanwhile fought three times in 2018 after moving to light heavyweight and successfully won all of those fights via stoppage. ‘Lionheart’ most recently defeated former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in October via third-round submission.
UFC 235 is set for March 2nd in Las Vegas and is now scheduled to feature:
- Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith – light heavyweight title
- Robbie Lawler vs. Ben Askren
- Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang
- Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall
- Holly Holm vs. Aspen Ladd
- Jeremy Stephens vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Misha Cirkunov