UFC President Dana White late Saturday night confirmed with TMZthe promotion’s plan to book the light heavyweight title fight for March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
MMAjunkie subsequently confirmed with Smith (31-13 MMA, 7-3 UFC) that he has signed a bout agreement for the fight. Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) and his reps were not immediately reachable for comment.
Smith, who has won three straight since moving up to 205 pounds, has not been shy about accusing Jones of doping in several interviews. But the topic of steroids was not discussed during an on-air confrontation following Jones’ win over Gustafsson at UFC 232. Jones instead bristled at the suggestion of Smith as an opponent and then indicated he would accept a fight. Smith suggested they meet in July for the UFC’s International Fight Week event.
Jones subsequently hinted a fight on multiple social media posts. Smith told MMAjunkie earlier Saturday the champ likely was angling for more money to face Cormier at heavyweight – or back him into a corner for UFC 235.
It appears the latter turned out to be true.
“He’s the best goddamn guy to ever fight, and regardless of what we say about him, I don’t think PEDs change that,” Smith said. “I think he’s the best fighter we’ve ever seen, regardless.”
The latest UFC 235 lineup now includes:
- Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith – for light heavyweight title
- Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman – for welterweight title
- Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler
- Holly Holm vs. Aspen Ladd
- Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Jeremy Stephens
- Tecia Torres vs. Weili Zhang
- Mickey Gall vs. Diego Sanchez
- Macy Chiasson vs. Gina Mazany
- Misha Cirkunov vs. Ovince Saint Preux