Jon Jones wants to fight 3 times in 2019: ‘The King has returned’

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Jon Jones on top of the Octagon after defeating Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in Inglewood, Calif. (Kyusung Gong/AP)

Several days removed from his dismantling of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, Jon Jones is setting his sights on supremacy in 2019.

The UFC’s 205-pound champion says he’d like to fight three times this year “and leave zero doubt of my dominance as a champion” despite having competed just thrice over the past four years.

“Over last few days something profound registered in me,” Jones wrote on his Instagram page while on a family vacation in Santa Monica. “In my heart and mind there has been a shift and it’s a hunger that’s raging. In the past I would fight then shut everything down while I filled my schedule with partying and nonsense, but in the aftermath of reclaiming my belt the only thing I want to do is get back in there.

“I want to step back into the cage and continue to prove why I’m the best light heavyweight in the world.”

Jones is not merely the best fighter in his division. He is the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial artist of all time — only, there are several asterisks on his record and his legacy tarnished by multiple failed drug tests.

That Jones has been labelled a cheater is nothing new. His latest response to those criticisms is.

“I’m mapping out the year ahead and I’m absolutely going to kick the [expletive] out of 2019,” Jones added. “I want to fight [three] times this year and leave zero doubt of my dominance as a champion. I’m going to do this because that’s what my passion dictates, but it’s also what you fans deserve. You’ve been down with me through thick and thin, and 2019 is going to be incredible.”

It’s unclear when exactly Jones might compete next, but if it’s a title defence then Corey Anderson could be a name to keep an eye on. Anderson, winner of The Ultimate Fighter 19, is streaking and was also victorious on the UFC 232 main card as he defeated top-10-ranked Ilir Latifi.

Meanwhile, both Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos have been on absolute tears since each moved up from the middleweight division in 2018 and could be close to a title shot.

A trilogy bout with current heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is always an option, one Dana White and the UFC would likely favour over scraps with the three aforementioned contenders.

Jones concluded with one final message to any and all future opponents:

“To those fighters in my division go ahead and line up because you’re all getting it. The King has returned and no one is sleeping easy but me now that I’m back. Same crown same reign new faces more pain. That’s what I’m bringing in 19.”

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