Despite not competing for three years, Jon Jones looked like he hadn't missed a step. And in the process, he is now a champion in the UFC once again.
Jones submitted Ciryl Gane to become the UFC heavyweight champion, becoming the eighth fighter in UFC history to win championships in two weight classes. Specifically, Jones joins Randy Couture and Daniel Cormier as the only ones to win gold at both heavyweight and light heavyweight.
The two felt each other out — following a kick by Gane to Jones's groin — before Jones scored a takedown a minute into the bout. About another minute later, Jones successfully locked in a guillotine choke and tapped out Gane.
UFC 285: Pros react to Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane
This fight marked Jones's first bout at heavyweight in MMA, as well as Jones's first fight in the Octagon in three years. Prior to tonight, Jones last fought at UFC 247 in February 2020, where he scored a controversial decision win over Dominick Reyes to retain the UFC light heavyweight title.
Jones hadn't lost in his MMA career other than a controversial 2009 disqualification against Matt Hamill. Jones dominated the light heavyweight scene for the better part of a decade between 2011 and 2020.
Gane, before tonight, last fought at UFC Paris in September, where he knocked out Tai Tuivasa. Gane defeated Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 to become interim UFC heavyweight champion, but he lost his title unification bout to Francis Ngannou at UFC 270.
The UFC heavyweight title was vacated in January following Ngannou parting ways with the promotion after failed negotiations.