Jones (26-1, 1 NC) considered one of the best MMA fighters in history. The 33-year-old owns the longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18).
The former UFC light heavyweight champion has spent months bulking up his physique in preparation for a move to the heavyweight division in 2021.
However, after a public spat with White over fighter pay, including a string of outbursts on social media, Jones has gone radio silent. He hasn't fought since his February 2020 victory over Dominick Reyes.
White, however, says that he doesn't know if Jones will ever return to the octagon as negotiations over a new contract have reportedly stalled after splitting from First Round Management.
When asked about his future in the UFC, White expressed some concern.
"Listen, that’s up to Jon Jones, whether he wants to fight or not," White said (via MMA Junkie). "There [are] fights available. They’re here. I’m gonna keep making fights every weekend, doing fights.
"If Jon Jones wants to fight, he can. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t have to.
"Nobody’s gonna force Jon Jones to fight. He’s had a great run. He’s got an incredible legacy.
"I personally see him as the GOAT right now.
"You’ve got guys that are nipping at his heels like Usman and some other guys out there.
"You know, it’s up to him. He can fight this summer, or he can never fight again. I mean, that’s up to him."
Since coming off that controversial win over Reyes, Jones has set his sights firmly on newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, with both men reassuring the other of their continued eagerness to make the fight happen.
However, White dismissed suggestions that 'Bones' will become the greatest fighter of all time if he can beat Ngannou, insisting that he has nothing left to prove in the sport.
"I mean, he could do it," he added. "That’s like [Tom] Brady going out and winning another Super Bowl with the Bucs.
"Obviously going up to heavyweight, it would be tough to argue – if he wins the title – that he’s not the GOAT.
"But right here, right now, he could retire, and I still consider him the GOAT right now until somebody else accomplishes what he has."News Now - Sport News