The shadow of Jon 'Bones' Jones -- regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters ever to step inside the UFC octagon -- will loom large as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier defends his title against Alexander Gustafsson this Saturday at the main event of UFC 192 in Houston, Texas.
The 28-year-old light heavyweight fighter avoided a prison term just days after pleading guilty on felony charges in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April this year. He received 18 months' probation and community service for the incident that shocked MMA fans across the world.
Jones was stripped and suspended indefinitely by the UFC, after he crashed his SUV into a pregnant woman's car and fled the scene.
However, now that he is available to make a return once again -- only if the UFC instantly reinstates him -- Jones could potentially face the winner of the title fight between Cormier and Gustafsson. The mixed martial arts organisation has enlisted the services of Las Vegas law firm Campbell & Williams to review the details of the case before making a decision to reinstate him.
So it makes things a bit unclear at the moment about the almost-invincible fighter.
"We don't know what he's been doing these last few months, but if he's been training then so be it," said Cormier, who lost to Jones earlier this year at UFC 182. "If there was ever any doubt that I wanted to get back in the octagon with that man, please put it to rest. There's no worry on my end.
"I'm glad he's back, if he's even back. He hasn't been reinstated yet. We're talking as if this guy is scheduling a fight right now. We don't know where this guy's headspace is.
"He's got some things to figure out on his own. Just because he got his punishment from the justice system, we don't know what damage this did to this kid, and if it did none, then this dude's got some real problems," Cormier, who defeated Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 to clinch the title, said.
Igor Araujo, who has been Jones' training partner at the Jackson-Winklejohn MMA academy, said in July earlier this year that the Light Heavyweight fighter has returned to training to get into shape so that he can join the Octagon soon.