Jon Jones has warned Stipe Miocic to be more prepared than he has ever been when they clash inside the octagon, with the new UFC heavyweight champion expecting to be even more dangerous than he was in his staggering victory against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285.
Jones, 35, marked his return to the UFC following a three-year hiatus with a devastating display against Gane in the headline bout in Las Vegas on Sunday morning, when he dispatched the No 1-ranked contender by first-round submission to claim the vacant belt.
Jones, who had not competed in the promotion since February 2020, required little more than two minutes to dispatch the Frenchman by guillotine choke. A former light heavyweight champion who holds a litany of UFC records including youngest ever champion, Jones was making his debut at heavyweight.
After becoming only the eighth athlete in UFC history to capture belts in two different weight classes, Jones set sights on Miocic, a two-time heavyweight champion considered the greatest of all-time in that division.
The pair have been touted to meet at UFC 290 during International Fight Week in July.
“I’m excited for the future. I think some of my best performances are coming within the next year or so," Jones, 27-1 in professional MMA, told reporters at the post-fight press conference. “I believe in my next fight, I’ll go into it with a different level of confidence, an even higher level of confidence.
"I believe that I’m going to look really great. I’m going to have even higher endurance than I had today, which is going to be hard to beat, because I’m in really great condition. The next fight is going to be awesome.
“I say it respectfully to Stipe: I would take time off from being a firefighter right now. And I mean that with all due respect. My whole world is going to be focused on him. This is the biggest opportunity in my life, to beat the heavyweight ‘Goat’, and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got – absolutely everything I’ve got."
Jones added: “Stipe is talking the fact that he’s heavier than me right now. His head is already in the wrong spot if he thinks weightlifting is going to beat me. He’ll never be younger than he is right now. He’ll never be faster. I’m going to not only beat Stipe Miocic, I’m going to finish Stipe Miocic before the championship rounds.”
Stipe, 40, has been out of action for a while also, with his most recent appearance in the UFC coming in the loss of his heavyweight crown against Francis Ngannou in March 2021.
Meanwhile, Gane could not hide his frustration in the immediate aftermath of Sunday's defeat – only the second loss of his 12-fight pro career.
The former interim champion’s only other defeat was also to then-undisputed champion Ngannou, a unanimous decision in January last year.
“I’m disappointed, of course,” Gane told reporters. “The biggest feeling is really angry about myself. Really angry, because, yes, we accepted this fight. It was not a short notice, but the time was not too long.
"But man, we worked a lot. We worked a lot and we spent a lot of time with my team, with my sparring partners. I’m really angry at myself because I spent a lot of time with my partners and my coaches and my family. It didn’t have a good [performance] during the fight. I’m really angry.”
“This is a real loss. This is the first real loss I have. When I think about the loss against Francis, it was not a big loss for me. I learned, but it was not too big. But this one is so painful. This one is a real loss. Now this is the past. I must go forward to see the future. I’m going to go straight back to the gym.”