UFC confirm Jon Jones v Cyril Gane for the heavyweight belt

Jon Jones is set to make his return to the octagon in a UFC heavyweight title fight with Cyril Gane at UFC 285.

The UFC has been a bit of a soap opera of late and the unveiling of Jones' much-anticipated return was no different. On Saturday, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas used its enormous digital billboard to proudly display Jones v Gane for the belt, complete with a 4 March date. The only snag was that the bout hadn't been announced yet.

While it was hurriedly taken down, UFC overlord Dana White wasted no time in addressing the issue at the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference on Saturday night.

"Yes, T-Mobile blew the fight," said White

"It wasn't supposed to go up, but it did. This is for the official heavyweight title."

In January last year, Francis Ngannou mounted his first and only defence of the UFC heavyweight title against Gane. But the Cameroonian-born fighter has been embroiled in a lengthy contract dispute with the promotion for the better part of two years, a negotiation that has seemingly reached a bitter end.

"We've been negotiating with Francis for more than two years," said White of the heavyweight star that has only fought three times since 2020.

"We offered Francis a deal that would've made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the company - more than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody, and he turned the deal down.

"I think Francis is at a place right now, where he doesn't want to take a risk. He feels like he can fight lesser opponents and make more money.

"It's not like this is something that has never happened before. There's been other guys that have come to us and said I don't want to compete at this level anymore.

"We're going to release him from his contract, give up our right to match. He can go wherever he wants, do whatever he wants."

Jones last fought in February 2020, defending his light heavyweight belt for a record 11th time against Dominic Reyes. He later vacated the title and expressed his desire to move up to the sport's most dangerous weight class.

Gane, meanwhile, is coming off a knockout victory over the charismatic Tai Tuivasa in September.

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