2018 Comeback Fighter of the Year: Jon Jones
Two superstars returned to the cage in 2018: former two-division champion Conor McGregor and multiple-time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
McGregor’s comeback resulted in a one-sided submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov while Jones recaptured the 205-pound title that was stripped of him in 2015.
Jones is considered by many as the greatest fighter in UFC history, but multiple incidents outside of the octagon have plagued his career and potentially tainted his legacy.
In April 2015, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run incident and resulted in him being stripped of the light heavyweight title. In 2016 he tested positive to two banned substances prior to his scheduled UFC 200 title bout against Daniel Cormier. He was suspended for one year and fined. In July 2017 Jones re-captured the 205-pound title by knocking out Cormier at UFC 214. He tested positive to the steroid turinabol following the fight and was handed a 15-month suspension and the result of the fight was overturned. He returned on Dec. 29 at UFC 232 against Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch with the light heavyweight crown on the line.
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After 17 months of inactivity, Jones defeated Gustafsson in the third round by TKO to capture the vacant light heavyweight title. The event was moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles the week before the event after a drug test irregularity, but Jones tested clean following the fight.
While his return was marred in controversy, Jones performed inside the octagon and reminded the world that he never lost the light heavyweight title to anyone inside the cage.