Jon Jones is eligible to come back to the UFC, and sooner than many expected.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Wednesday night announced the former UFC light heavyweight champion has received a 15-month suspension for his second anti-doping offense, clearing the way for a potential octagon return at UFC 230.
Jones, 31, faced up to a four-year term when he tested positive for turinabol after his rematch against current champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. The California State Athletic Commission subsequently revoked his license and issued a hefty fine, leading the UFC to strip him of the title he won via knockout. But the commission did not suspend him, leaving the issue to the UFC’s anti-doping partner.
USADA’s decision is an unquestionably favorable outcome for the embattled former champion, who was given a one-year suspension after testing positive for multiple performance enhancers in connection with a canceled title unifier against Cormier at UFC 200 in July 2016.
In its announcement, USADA said it imposed the 15-month suspension after an evidentiary hearing with an independent arbitrator on September 15. Even before the hearing, though, USADA said the suspension length was reduced by 30 months “based on Jones’ delivery of substantial assistance.”
“The independent arbitrator found that Jon Jones was not intentionally cheating in this case, and while we thought 18 months was the appropriate sanction given the other circumstances of the case, we respect the arbitrator’s decision and believe that justice was served,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said in a statement.
Jones’ suspension is retroactive to July 28, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected, making him eligible on Oct. 28.
His eligibility falls just five days prior to UFC 230, which takes place Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jones has been heavily rumored to be in consideration as a headliner for the show, which lacks a main event.
For more on UFC 230, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.