UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is officially set to defend his title against Anthony Smith at UFC 235. Jones was granted a one-fight license by the Nevada Athletic Commission during a hearing on Tuesday, securing the first stage in making the bout.
Jones will put his title on the line against the red-hot Smith on March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He will be required to take at least two drug tests a month prior to the event, and remain on a strict testing schedule over the remainder of 2019 to secure his future fighting in Las Vegas.
“This is on you,” NAC chairman Anthony Marnell said to Jones (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “It’s on your shoulders. I like what I hear, I like what I see, but the proof’s in the pudding. So I’m happy that you’re back here, you’ll always be treated with respect here, and I wanted to make sure that you understood that today. Welcome back to Nevada, and do the right thing from this point going forward. As you know, we’re going to be visiting you frequently.”
Jones was suspended by the NAC for a failed drug test in 2017. Last year, as he was set to face Alexander Gustafsson, trace amounts of a banned substance were found and the fight was moved at the last minute from Las Vegas to California. Jones went on to win the title over Gustafsson.
UFC 235 will also feature Tyron Woodley defending his welterweight belt vs. Kamaru Usman and the Octagon debut of Ben Askren, as the former Bellator champion meet Robbie Lawler.