Could Jon Jones return straight into an interim heavyweight title fight? UFC president Dana White thinks so.

Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), the former light heavyweight champion, has been prepping for a move up to heavyweight for over a year now and with champion Francis Ngannou set to undergo knee surgery Friday, the division might have to move on.

In a recent interview with ESPN, White said if Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) is sidelined for a while, Jones could slide right into an interim title shot in his divisional debut.

“I haven’t thought about it at all, but yeah, it sounds like something we would do,” White said.

He continued, “Not until we know what Francis is gonna do or what’s gonna happen, but if that’s the case, if he ends up sitting out for a year, Jon could come right in and fight for a title.”

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Other than his road to recovery, Ngannou still has to sort out his contract situation with the UFC. Although he fought out his current deal, the championship clause resulted in an extension after he retained his title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. White is hopeful he can get a deal done with his champion, but in the meantime, an interim title fight could decide Ngannou’s next challenge should he re-sign.

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