Jon Jones is back, so where do we go from here?

It’s been a bizarre year for the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division. It started off strong with the first Pay Per View of 2015 featuring a highly anticipated grudge match between reigning king Jon Jones and rival Daniel Cormier, where Jones throughly handled the former Olympian Cormier en route to a unanimous decision victory. The win for Jones pushed him further into the territory only found by the elite of the elite in MMA, with fans questioning how many challenges were left for him in the division.

\Jon Jones is back, so where do we go from here?

This question was answered shortly after when dehydrated 170 pounder turned gigantic 205 pound wrecking machine Anthony Johnson dispatched Alexander Gustafsson, a man many point to as Jones most competitive opponent to date, in much more decisive fashion than Jones did. The stage was set for a phenomenal championship showdown, and that’s when things got weird.

It made the press that Jones had tested positive for cocaine prior to his bout with Daniel Cormier shortly after the bout, but UFC brass decided that an apology and a one night stint in rehab was enough to rectify his actions. For a regular person, being publicly outed as a cocaine user and receiving essentially no punishment from your employer would be enough of a wake up call to get on the straight and narrow, but Jon Jones is not a regular person. In the lead up to his hotly anticipated bout with Johnson, Jones was as involved in a hit and run accident that saw him flee the scene, leaving behind a wounded pregnant woman, only to return, grab some cash, and flee again.

At this point Jones became something of public relations nightmare for the UFC and they had no choice but to strip him of the championship while he sorted out his legal woes.

Into the power vacuum at the top of the light heavyweight division, re-enter Daniel Cormier. Cormier jumped into the spot left vacant by Jones and defeated Anthony Johnson for the UFC’s now vacant Light Heavyweight title. So what we are left with is the man who, in a bout fresh in out memories was rag dolled in an attempt to capture the UFC championship, having the belt wrapped around his waist. From a purely marketing standpoint, you would have to think it was in the UFC’s best interest for Johnson to take the belt and hold it until Jones could return, leaving things pretty much where we left them, only a different man holding the belt on the poster. However Cormier delivered, and followed up with a defence of the belt of Alexander Gustafsson, which brings us to today.

This morning announced that Jones had been officially reinstated by the promotion, and fans eagerly await word as to who his first opponent will be. It appears to be a near guarantee that he will challenge for the title against Cormier upon his return, after all he did never lose the belt in competition and his last defence of the title was over the current reigning champion, it appears the best way to clean up the mess that is the 205 pound division is Jones vs Cormier 2.

The trouble here is that the division didn’t stand still while Jones was gone, in fact, its seen quite a lot of movement. Ryan Bader is looking better than ever and has stated his claim for a title shot, Anthony Johnson has set himself back on the winning track and former Jones foe Glover Teixeira is waiting in the wings for his next challenge also. That is to say, would it be unreasonable to expect Jones to join the line of contenders rather than jump straight back in to the top of the heap?

Only time will tell what the UFC intend to with their Light Heavyweight division so expect to see some key match ups announced in the coming weeks for early 2016, and with Jones back in the fold there will no doubt as to who can rightfully stake their claim as the 2015 pound king.

Main Photo: LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 03:  Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones waits in a time-out as he defends his title against Daniel Cormier during the UFC 182 event  at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jones retained his title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)