One of the biggest stories from UFC 200 wasn’t even about one of the many excellent fights that took place that night. It was the fact that Jon Jones was removed from the main event just a couple days before the event, after failing a drug test.
Although Anderson Silva stepped in at the last minute to fight Daniel Cormier, that fight wasn’t nearly as exciting or anticipated at the Jones-Cormier rematch would have been. Now Jones is facing a potential two-year ban from the sport over his failed test, but UFC president Dana White seems optimistic about his chances.
“I’ve not talked to Jon but the guy has got 13 lives, man,” White said. “It’s looking good for him. He’s got to deal with Nevada right now and this thing that went down and I can’t say a lot about it because it’s not my place. We will see how this thing plays out but it’s looking good for him.”
Jones tested positive for an estrogen blocker. Although not a performance enhancer itself, it’s banned for it’s use as a masking agent. His team is reportedly blaming the failed test on a tainted supplement. According to White, it sounds like they may have solid evidence. If they can prove it was an accident, Jones’ suspension could get reduced to six months instead of 24 months. That would make him eligible to fight again in early 2017.
If Jones does get his suspension reduced, it shakes up the light heavyweight division again. Anthony Johnson made a strong case for an immediate title shot by knocking out Glover Teixeira in just 13 seconds at UFC 202, followed by calling out Cormier directly. It seemed logical to everyone that fight would get made next, but White started backtracking in the days after the fight.
“You know what man, I’m in a weird place,” White said, according to Jim Edwards of FloCombat. “I saw that fight and it was a great fight but I’ve still got to talk to (matchmaker) Joe Silva and see what he thinks. I’m thinking that maybe we do Anthony Johnson versus Jon Jones to see who gets to fight Daniel Cormier.”
That certainly makes it sound like Jones may be back sooner than expected.