JON JONES mentor Richard Schaefer will be meeting with his UFC teammates this weekend to discuss the return of the MMA legend.
The long-reigning former light-heavyweight champion hasn’t set foot in the octagon almost TWO years, with his last outing being a fierce debate over title defense against Dominick Reyes.
Jones’ hiatus from the cage was largely due to a contract dispute with UFC, which Schaefer hopes to hash out in the coming days.
The former Golden Boy Promotions executive told SunSport: “He’s ready, willing and able to fight whoever we can win for the heavyweight title.
“The reason why I’m not saying Francis Ngannou; I want to hold a fight with Francis Ngannou and I’m talking to the UFC.
“And the fact is, I’m meeting them this weekend in Los Angeles.”
Jones, 33, is aiming for a blockbuster showdown with heavyweight king Ngannou before he chooses to watch the rest of 2021 – which he once continued to include in size.
But Ngannou’s contract issues with the UFC belt – as well as his maybe nine months on the sidelines after his impending knee surgery – cast a bout of doubt.
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Schaefer said: “I think Francis Ngannou has some problems. One side is the contract. How will things work out?
“We are aware of a lack of communication from Team Ngannou and the UFC.
“[Talks] almost reached a stalemate and legal letters were exchanged.
“But then, as I understand it, he might need surgery because of the torn ligament.
“I don’t know exactly what he has, so I don’t even know if he’s available.”
Regardless of whether Ngannou is available or not, Jones is eager to return to the long-awaited action this year.
Schaefer continued: “But we want to fight. Jon wants to fight and Jon wants to fight for the heavyweight title. And Jon is the type to fight anyone no matter what.
“So I’ll see if I can try to put that together. But Jon Jones, like I said, Floyd Mayweather of the UFC.
“He’s a legend, he’s undefeated and he’s in a league of his own.”
Despite the advertising issues with Ngannou, UFC president Dana White still want to make a spin between the evil knockout artist and Jones.
During a fan Q&A on ESPN+, the veteran promoter told Laura Sanko: “I don’t know.
“I hope that it will be one of the big games this year. If we can do it, we certainly will.”
Former heavyweight king Jones was an interested observer in Ngannou’s title defense against Ciryl Gane earlier this month, which Predator victory through unanimous decision.
UFC Hall-of-Famer was deeply impressed by the pair’s respective performances and made it known on Twitter mid-fight.
And, according to Schaefer, Bones firmly believes he will do better than both men.
He said: “It’s really funny, some media people texted me before the game and I said, ‘I think Jon Jones is going to beat Ciryl Gane or Francis Ngannou.’
“And I texted Jon back and forth after the fight and he said, ‘Yes, I beat both of them. [guys].
“‘There’s no doubt about it, I beat both of you.”
Jones took the giant step of returning to the octagon last month when he accepted a settlement in a domestic battery case against him in Nevada.
Initially, the fan-favorite car was charged with petty charges of domestic battery and forgery of a vehicle.
The domestic battery charging has been reduced and Jones pledges no candidate to ‘destroy someone else’s property’.
According to court documents, Jones was ordered to pay £562 in restitution to his alleged victim, required to undergo anger management counseling and instructions to stay out of trouble.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17475769/jon-jones-next-fight-francis-ngannou-ufc-news/ Jon Jones’s mentor will meet his UFC teammates this weekend to discuss the long-awaited return and potential superstar Francis Ngannou