The manager of Jon Jones, Richard Schaefer, details the new contract Jones signed and his upcoming heavyweight debut.
The time many MMA fans have been waiting for has become a reality, Jon Jones is set to make his heavyweight debut. Over two years ago, Jones decided to relinquish the light heavyweight title and set his sights on heavyweight. There was a long transition period in which Jones needed to take care of himself physically and add enough weight to compete in the higher-weight class. There were also negotiation issues going on but all have been resolved and he is set to fight for the heavyweight title in March.
Jones will be taking on Ciryl Gane for the UFC heavyweight belt in Las Vegas on March 4. Throughout his hiatus from the sport, it seemed that Jones was on a crash course with Francis Ngannou, although now Ngannou has left the organization. Jones’ journey to the heavyweight division was long, but now with a new contract, it seems he is there to stay.
Jon Jones has signed an eight-fight deal with the UFC to compete in the heavyweight division
Upon announcing the news that Jones was returning and would be fighting Gane, UFC president Dana White announced that Jones had signed a new eight-fight deal with the UFC. Jones’ manager Richard Schaefer was a guest in The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss the new contract, this heavyweight debut, and more details on his client.
“UFC realizes that Jon Jones is the GOAT and he is a generational talent,” he said. “So they were very, very much interested and very open to work with us and come to the conclusion of putting together a fair deal which we did here. I mean that deal which we made for Jon makes Jon now the, in the history of UFC, the highest pay heavyweight athlete and overall, I think as Hunter mentioned to me probably the second-highest-ever next to Conor McGregor. It was a long negotiation, but it was not a hostile negotiation.”
Schaefer went on to explain that his client had a contract already which had him fighting at 205 pounds, the new deal will be for eight fights and will include the heavyweight division. Back in 2020, Jones was looking for 10 million dollars from the UFC, Schaefer did not give specific numbers but mentioned that both parties involved were happy. As for Jones, his return to the UFC did not seem to waver on the status of Ngannou, and in fact, his manager explained that he did not have a preference about who he faced, he just wanted the belt.
“I personally, by the way, I think that Cyril with his skill set and his youth and so on, is a bigger fight than Francis would have been, certainly more of a challenge and I think it just shows you how determined Jon Jones is to become heavyweight champion,” he said. “For him it was never like, Oh, I’m not going to fight this guy or I’m not going to fight that guy, for him it was like, I don’t really care, I want to fight for the heavyweight world title, and just bring whoever it is. That is why he is the GOAT, that’s what GOATs do.”
This heavyweight title fight will be the main event of the UFC 285 fight card taking place on March 4 in the T-Moible Arena in Las Vegas.