The biggest MMA story of 2015 came to a conclusion this past weekend when former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was reinstated by the UFC. Jones had been suspended indefinitely and had his title stripped following a felony hit and run earlier this year where a pregnant woman was injured. Eventually, Jones turned himself into the authorities and after reaching a plea agreement, he’s ready to get back to work. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta had this to say on the matter:
“We’ve made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward. We’re happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person.”
Jones also offered a quote:
“I am thankful to be able to do what I love once again and I look forward to proving myself as a champion in and outside of the Octagon.”
Jones will almost certainly rematch current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who won and defended the title during Jones’ absence. Jones defeated Cormier via unanimous decision this past January before he got into trouble. A fight was also announced over the weekend: Patrick Cote vs Ben Saunders – UFC Fight Night 81 This is a fight that makes a lot of sense. Both Cote and Saunders are solid veterans who have been around the block. Rather than match them up with some young up-and-coming prospects, the promotion is instead pairing them together. Cote has quietly gone on a nice two-fight win streak which included a brutal “Fight of the Night”-winning war against Josh Burkman where he stopped “The People’s Warrior” via strikes for the first time. Saunders has gone 3-0 since returning to the Octagon late last year, most recently picking up a very close split decision win over Kenny Robertson at UFC on Fox 16. I think this fight will be a near pick ’em according to the odds, but if forced to choose one side, I’d probably go with Cote. He’s continued to land heavy shots late in his career and that last victory over Burkman was incredibly impressive.
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