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'I’m the only legitimate threat to Jon Jones': Anthony Smith set to challenge for title at UFC 235

'I’m the only legitimate threat to Jon Jones': Anthony Smith set to challenge for title at UFC 235
Jon Jones won't wait long to defend his newly acquired UFC light heavyweight title, as pomotion president Dana White says that 'Bones' will face 205lb contender Anthony Smith in the featured bout at UFC 235 in March.

The bout, which will take place in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, comes after Jones regained the title a little over a week ago at UFC 232 against Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson.

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Speaking to TMZ, White confirmed the fight but stated that it is pending the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) providing a license to Jones.

Irregularities in Jones' drug-testing prior to UFC 232 forced the late change of venue from Las Vegas to California after the NAC withdrew the fighter's license, and White says that this hurdle must be overcome in order for the fight with Smith to take place.

"Later this month, Jon Jones will file an application for licensure with the NSAC in order to compete at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 2nd," White said to TMZ.

"Provided that license is granted, Jones will be defending his light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith in a five round main event at the T-Mobile Arena."

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Trace elements of anabolic steroid turinabol were found to be in Jones' system in a drug-test administered in early December, though the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stated that it was due to a 'pulsing' effect from a prior ingestion. Jones had already served a 15-month ban for a drug test failure.

READ MORE: ‘Dude has a head start everytime!’: Cormier mocks Jon Jones as social media reacts to UFC return

Anthony Smith, meanwhile, is an interesting candidate for a UFC title shot. The former middleweight has posted a 33-13 career record but has appeared in magnificent form since moving up to the light heavyweight fold, winning successive bouts against Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua, Rashad Evans and Volkan Oezdemir with none of those making the final bell.

RT

"I'm the only legitimate threat to Jon Jones," Smith said last week addressing speculation of a potential clash with Jones. 

"I’m the only one that's even got the capability of beating Jon Jones in the entire division. I think that’s gotta be next. I think I’m the next guy. There’s no one else out there who's going to give Jon a fight. There’s no one who’s going to threaten him and there's no one anyone else wants to see him against."

With Anthony Smith next on Jones' plate, it appears unlikely that arch-rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones will ever meet again in the octagon as heavyweight champ Cormier has stated that he plans to retire from the sport by the end of March.

READ MORE: 'DC is no champ champ': Jon Jones issues clear challenge to Daniel Cormier - at light-heavyweight

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