Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will welcome former longtime light heavyweight titleholder Jones (26-1 w. 1 NC MMA, 20-1 UFC) to a new division in the main event at T-Mobile Arena, which airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and ESPN+, in one of the most anticipated fights of the year so far.
The fight is highly unpredictable because no one knows what Jones is going to look like after more than three years away from competition. Gane said he has taken all of those questions out of his mind, though, and prepared for a sharper, faster and stronger “Bones” than anyone has ever seen.
“We expected during the camp a beautiful Jon Jones,” Gane told MMA Junkie and other reporters at Wednesday’s UFC 285 media day. “Fast like he was at the light heavyweight, with the same skills, but stronger like a heavyweight. Like a real heavyweight. We expected this.”
Although the matchup between Gane and Jones is compelling, the fact it’s for a vacant belt has critics claiming the winner won’t be the “real” champion. Former titleholder Francis Ngannou gave up the strap when he parted ways with the promotion following failed contract negotiations.
Gane, 32, said he’s not worried about any of that noise, though. Handing Jones his first legitimate loss in MMA is arguably a bigger feat than winning a UFC title, so Gane won’t feel any luster is taken from the result.
“I won the belt now, no matter who is the guy,” Gane said. “It’s going to mean a lot for me because he is the GOAT. Everyone knows that, because of his career. … If we win, it’s going to be something big for my career and something big for my life, for sure.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.