The UFC's plans for Jon Jones have become clearer after president Dana announced the promotion is ready to book the highly-anticipated rematch between the returning star and light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.
Jones (22-1 record in MMA) is now serving a one year suspension after testing positive for estrogen blockers last summer, with his return pinned for the second week of July.
But, if Jones decides he needs more time, the consensus is that Manuwa will fight Cormier next.
The ball is in Jon Jones' court. [You] and I both know it! If that happens, then Cormier - Manuwa could be next.
A rematch between the two was scheduled and scrapped twice, first after Cormier pulled out with a knee injury before UFC 197 last April and again at UFC 200 in July because of Jones' failed drug test leading to his United States Anti-Doping Agency suspension.
UFC fans were hoping to see Cormier versus Jon Jones, but the champion seems to be more interested in taking down Manuwa before getting in the octagon with the former king of the division. Preux at UFC 197 in April of previous year, and while Jones won relatively comfortably by unanimous decision, it was an uninspired performance in comparison to the high standards we've come to expect from him.
While no announcement has been made, it certainly appears for now both Cormier and Manuwa are interested in a summer meeting.
Jones' camp has not responded to ESPN's request for comments. If Jones opts out of the late-July fight, White says that's when Cormier will take on Britain's Jimi Manuwa, with whom Cormier's quickly establishing a new rivalry on social media. It will bother me, but at the end of the day, it won't determine what I'm going to do. "Where's the contract. This [is] light work".