Jon Jones Suspended 15 Months By USADA, But Can Return In 2018

Jones Is Eligible To Return October 28th

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been handed a 15-month suspension by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and will be able to return to the octagon by October 28th.

Jones tested positive for metabolites of an anabolic steroid in July 2017, less than a month after winning the light heavyweight title by knocking out Daniel Cormier in the second round at UFC 214. Jones’ suspension is retroactive to the date of the test, so Jones has already served almost 14 months.

Photo: AP Photo/John Locher

Jones had faced a maximum ban of four years and had his license to fight pulled by the California State Athletic Commission. The executive director for the CSAC told ESPN the commission finds the 15-month suspension “agreeable.”

In order to regain his fight license, Jones must complete three months community service and pay a previously ordered $205,000 fine.

Jones posted on his Twitter soon after the news broke saying he plans on going after the title.

UFC 230 is slated for November 3 in Madison Square Garden and still doesn’t have a main event. Jones would be eligible to fight on that card if the UFC wants him. But UFC president Dana White spoke to ESPN and says Jones will likely return in 2019.

“The arbitrator found that Jones never intentionally or knowingly took steroids and the result of the positive test was a result of a contaminated substance,” White said. “The science completely supports that finding. The science doesn’t lie, so I look forward to getting him back early next year.”

Just because White says Jones isn’t likely to fight at UFC 230, doesn’t mean he won’t. White has been known to lie to the media and make the big announcement himself. Just a month ago, he had told reporters at a press conference that a deal with Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov wasn’t done yet and as the press conference was wrapping up, he playing a promo video showing the fight was indeed set.

Photo: Stephan Savoia/AP Photo

There just so happens to be a press conference Thursday afternoon where McGregor and Nurmagomedov will face off and answer questions from the media. The main event for UFC 230 could be announced there as well and don’t be surprised if Jones is headlining.

The 31-year-old Jones has had an excellent career but this isn’t the first time he’s had to deal with USADA. In 2016, Jones served a one-year suspension for testing positive for two banned substances. In 2015, Jones was stripped of the light heavyweight title he had defended eight times after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Even after all these past incidents, Jones is still one of the biggest stars in the UFC. It’s unclear who Jones will fight next, but rival Cormier currently holds both the light heavyweight title as well as the heavyweight title. Cormier is looking for a big-money fight with Brock Lesnar, but that fight won’t be until 2019. With that being said, it’s unlikely Cormier can get down to 205 pounds by November on such short notice.

Photo: AP

If Jones does fight in November, it may be against Alexander Gustafsson who Jones beat via unanimous decision at UFC 165 in September 2013.