Jon Jones made his long-awaited return to the UFC on Saturday and despite beating Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision, the former light heavyweight champion looked a shadow of the fighter the world knows him to be.
In the end Jones’ victory over Saint Preux at UFC 197 on Saturday was rather comfortable. All three judges scored it a sweep for Jones: 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45.
However, Jones looked rusty and appeared to lack confidence in what was an untidy fight.
Commenting on his performance, Jones himself admitted to being frustrated at his own inability to execute the moves he saw in his mind.
“I was watching, imagining, anticipating techniques, knowing when techniques would have landed, but just not going for it,” Jones said.
“Physically, I felt amazing. Mentally, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m sucking. This isn’t good.’
“I was trying to be as confident as possible, but I really needed that fight.
“I didn’t look at it as a warm-up fight, but as you can see, I needed that fight before I fight for my title.”
Jones was crowned the interim champion after the fight but he showed his disdain for that label by declining to put on the belt after the fight.
“It’s not the right belt,” Jones said when presented with it.
“I’m really excited to fight Cormier.
“I would like to fight at UFC 200.”
And that scenario looks likely after Dana White confirmed that if both athletes are fit, he is happy for them to compete against each other at UFC 200.
“If they are both healthy, yeah, it’s a possibility that could be the main event for UFC 200,” White said.