Jon Jones‘ days in MMA might be numbered.
The all-time great told Fox Sports Australia in an interview published Tuesday that his plan is to defend the UFC heavyweight title against former champion Stipe Miocic in November at New York’s Madison Square Garden and then walk away from the sport. Jones had previously mentioned retiring after that fight on Twitter.
“I think the Stipe fight will be plenty for me,” Jones said. “I feel like I don’t have too much to prove after beating Stipe Miocic. I’ve been in the game for a long time. In fighter years, I’m an old guy. I’ve been training a long time, been in the game long time. Got some small injuries. I just really want to be around. I want to be around for my family, be around for my kids. I want to be able to play with my kids, have a good head on my shoulders. … I could see it coming to an end really soon and I’m happy with that. I’m really proud of my career.”
Jones has the best résumé out of any fighter in MMA history. He returned after three years away to win the UFC heavyweight title from Ciryl Gane via dominant first-round submission at UFC 285 in March. Jones was previously the longtime UFC light heavyweight champion. He owns the longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (19) and is a record 15-0 in UFC title fights.
Jones, 35, was asked about up-and-coming UFC heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich, who is coming off a first-round knockout of contender Curtis Blaydes last month. Jones said the issue with Pavlovich is “no one knows who he is,” making him an opponent with high risk and low reward.
However, Jones said a fight with former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou could motivate him to return after Miocic. Ngannou departed the UFC as a free agent early this year.
“I do believe a Francis Ngannou fight would be worth entertaining not retiring,” Jones said. “I think a Francis fight would come with some serious revenue and that would make it worth my while. Francis is a former champion. He’s pretty damn popular here in America and across the world. He’s very well known. It would bring in a lot of money and for that I would be willing to come back.”
Right now, though, Jones said he would be satisfied departing after the Miocic fight. He said he’s focused on that fight until November and “then I can just focus on being a dad after that.”
“Right now, my goal is to have one more big fight against Stipe Miocic, Madison Square Garden,” Jones said. “And then kind of hang it up from there. Who knows what the future holds from there?”