Jon Jones is back on the mountaintop.
In his first UFC bout in three years, Jones moved up a weight class and won the heavyweight title with a first-round submission of Ciryl Gane. He won with a guillotine choke at 2:04 to put a dramatic cap on UFC 285 in Las Vegas.
“I’m so excited,” Jones said. “I’ve been working for this for a long time. A lot of people thought I wasn’t coming back. I’ve been faithful to my goal, faithful to my mission.”
Jones’ last fight came on Feb. 8, 2020, against Dominick Reyes, and he took the necessary time to prepare for a new weight class and a new crop of fighters. He believed the time away preparing was worth it and hired a team in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to get into optimal shape.
“I had to show up and get (Gane) down to the ground,” Jones said. “I’ve been wrestling since I was 12 years old. I feel stronger than ever. Once I got him in my hands, I know I could take control.”
UFC president Dana White put Jones’ win simply: “Ciryl Gane is a monster. Jon Jones showed up and treated him like a kid.”
Jones’ unbeaten streak was extended to 19 and he improved to 27-1 with one no-contest. He won a record 13 title fights at light heavyweight. He said after the bout he would want to face Stipe Miocic next. White said the fight will take place, but it’s unclear when and where.
Gane fell to 11-2 with the loss.
“This one is so painful,” he said. “This one is a win lost. So now this is past, and most of all for what I see is in the future. I’m going to go straight back to the gym.”
Tom Brady, Mike Evans and Conor McGregor were also in the house for the fight.
Jake Gyllenhaal showed up as well as he shot scenes for the “Road House” reboot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.