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UFC wants Jon Jones-Anthony Smith for March's UFC 235

Image: MMA Fighting

A week after controversially returning to competition at UFC 232, the UFC wants one of their biggest stars back in there sooner than later.

UFC president Dana White revealed to TMZ they want light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to defend his newly-won title against fast-rising contender Anthony Smith to headline March's UFC 235 in Las Vegas, NV.

The one hitch in that plan: getting Nevada to license Jones who had to have his fight against Alexander Gustafsson at 232 moved with one week's notice from Nevada to California due to the presence of a picogram of turinabol found in his system during December pre-fight testing.

The Nevada Athletic Commission wasn't confident they could license him for 232 due to the timeframe in which they found out. Instead of waiting, the promotion moved the entire show to California of which thier commission head later said they were unaware of some failed tests in August that were revealed later.

Jones will still need to appear in front of the NAC to explain the situation that UFC VP Jeff Novitsky and USADA are claiming is due to a positive test he had in 2017. White said they will apply for a license later this month.

Since moving up to 205 pounds, the 30-year-old Smith has won three straight with three finishes including an October third round submission win over past title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.

UFC 235 also has Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler on that show which also could see the addition of welterweight champion Tyron Woodley vs. either Colby Covington or Kamaru Usman.