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Bones is back.
Jon “Bones” Jones will return to the Octagon on Dec. 29 on UFC 232 in a rematch of his memorable 2013 fight against Sweden’s Alexander Gustafsson, the UFC announced Friday morning.
The story first was reported on Wednesday by Ariel Helwani of espn.com. There had been no announcement from the UFC until Friday and no reaction from Jones, but Gustafsson appeared to confirm the news on his Twitter feed.
“On 12/29 the (light heavyweight) UFC belt is coming home with me!!!” Gustafsson wrote on Wednesday.
Jones (22-1), an upstate New York native who lives in Albuquerque and trains here at Jackson-Wink MMA, last fought on July 29, 2017. His victory that night over Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title was ruled no contest after Jones was found to have tested positive for Turinabol, an anabolic steroid.
Jones’ contention that he did not knowingly ingest a banned subject was accepted by the United States Anti-Drug Agency, based on the timing of the positive test.
Jones nonetheless was suspended for 15 months dating from the night of the Cormier fight and thus is eligible to fight on Dec. 29.
Cormier, who holds the light heavyweight and heavyweight UFC titles, is set to fight Derrick Lewis in defense of the heavyweight title Nov. 3 at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Cormier is expected to be stripped of the light heavyweight belt to make way for the Jones-Gustafsson winner.
“It kind of sucks it’s going to be him,” Cormier said of Jones. “But I understand the organization having to move on. They said they won’t strip me until those guys start the fight, so I’ll be able to be a double champ for five months, six months. The fight was made with some concessions.”
Gustafsson (18-4) lost to Jones by unanimous decision on Sept. 21, 2013 in a fight considered among the most exciting in UFC history. Since then, the Swedish fighter has gone 3-2 – losing by first-round TKO to Anthony Johnson (since retired) and to Cormier by split decision.
The Gustafsson fight was by far the most difficult of Jones’ MMA career. His only defeat was the result of a disqualification for having thrown illegal “12-to-6” elbows.
The Jones-Gustafsson card includes a super-fight between women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and her Brazilian countrywoman and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press contributed to this report.