CLEVELAND — Shortly after Jon "Bones" Jones defeated Ciryl Gane for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship earlier this month, UFC President Dana White announced that his first title defense would come against Stipe Miocic.
“I don’t know when, but he’s definitely fighting Stipe,” White told reporters of Jones' next challenger.
Those plans, however, appeared to be in jeopardy on Thursday, when Jones took to Twitter to accuse the Cleveland native of potentially bailing on the fight.
"You @stipemiocic only you the UFC and I know the truth, you dodged me all of 2022 - July, September & December. Now I’m hearing rumors that we may not be fighting this July," Jones tweeted, before adding: "Bro it’s simple, either you believe in yourself or you don’t. Either you want this challenge or you don’t. Stop wasting everyone’s time."
Miocic, however, was quick to respond, replying to Jones' tweet with a photoshopped poster featuring the two set to square off at UFC 290 on July 8.
A fight between Jones and Miocic is one of the biggest that UFC could book -- especially in the heavyweight division. While Jones' title win cemented his status as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, Miocic is considered by many to be the most accomplished heavyweight in UFC history, as his four title defenses over his two heavyweight championship reigns remain a UFC record.
“Y’all want to see me beat up Stipe?” Jones asked the audience in Las Vegas during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan after submitting Gane in the first round at UFC 285 on March 4. “One thing I know about the UFC is we give the fans what they want to see.
“Stipe Miocic, I hope you’re training, my guy. You’re the greatest heavyweight of all time, and that’s what I want. I want you. Real bad.”
As Jones alluded to in his tweets, a fight between himself and Miocic had been rumored throughout 2022, but ultimately never came to fruition. Miocic, who works as a firefighter at the Westlake Fire Department, hasn't fought since losing the UFC Heavyweight title to Francis Ngannou in 2021, while Jones' fight against Gane marked his first time inside the UFC octagon since early 2020.
“I know that [he’s never lost,]” Miocic (20-4) told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani of Jones' 27-1 record, with the only loss coming via disqualification. “It sucks that he’s going to lose. He’s going [to have] a big ‘one.’ I’m not going to imagine it, it’s going to happen."