Jon Jones made his return to the Octagon on Saturday (April 24) at UFC 197 with a victory over Ovince Saint Preux.
The UFC star (22-1) easily defeated Saint Preux via unanimous decision from inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and earned the interim UFC Light Heavyweight title. However, he clearly has no interest in that label.
As the UFC belt was presented to Jones after Saturday’s fight, he declined to put it on, saying, “It’s not the right belt.”
It was Jones’ first appearance since being stripped of the official title last year, after he being charged with a felony hit-and-run in Albuquerque, NM. All three judges scored the fight for Jones: 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45.
Despite the sweep, Jones wasn’t happy with his performance. “I was watching, imagining, anticipating techniques — knowing when techniques would have landed, but just not going for it,” he said. “Physically, I felt amazing. Mentally, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m sucking. This isn’t good.’ ”
With the win, Jones is expected to challenge Daniel Cormier for the title at UFC 200 in July. The two were originally set to fight in a rematch, but the champ was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a leg injury, so Saint Preux (19-8) agreed to fill in on three weeks’ notice.
According to UFC president Dana White, Saint Preux suffered a broken arm in the bout and was transported to a hospital.
Cormier is scheduled for an MRI on Monday, and if cleared, Cormier-Jones 2 could potentially take place at UFC 200.