No, Jon Jones isn’t going to heavyweight – at least yet.
UFC broadcast partner ESPN.com first reported the UFC’s light heavyweight champion is targeted to defend his belt against the surging Thiago “Marreta” Santos (21-6 MMA, 13-5 UFC) at UFC 239.
Co-headlining the July 6 card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is a women’s bantamweight title bout between champ Amanda Nunes (17-4 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and ex-titleholder Holly Holm (12-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC). MMAjunkie subsequently verified that verbal agreements are in place for both bookings.
Jones (24-1 MMA, 18-1 UFC) made headlines Wednesday as he teased a heavyweight bout with ex-champ Stipe Miocic, who’s been without an opponent since losing his title to current champ and Jones rival Daniel Cormier.
A move to the big-man division has been a reoccurring topic for Jones, who defended his belt earlier this month with a dominant win over Anthony Smith at UFC 235. But ultimately, “Bones” decided to stick with his plan to clean up at 205 pounds, where his title reign has been broken only by legal troubles and positive drug tests.
Next to face the pound-for-pound great is the Brazilian Santos, who’s cut a swath through the light heavyweight division with three consecutive knockouts following an uneven run at middleweight.
More: Conor McGregor makes ‘quick announcement’ that he’s retired from MMA
Report: Police in Ireland investigating Conor McGregor over alleged sexual assault
Nunes, meanwhile, is also focused on defending her native turf after moving up to featherweight to capture the belt from Cris Cyborg, which cemented her status as an all-time great in women’s MMA. Since capturing her second UFC title, she’s targeted Holm, who famously knocked out Ronda Rousey to win the bantamweight belt, only to cede it to Miesha Tate in her first defense.