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Ex-champion Jon Jones reinstated by UFC

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 03: Light heavyweight

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) Photo Credit: Getty Images / Steve Marcus

Jon Jones is getting yet another chance in the UFC octagon.

The UFC reinstated its former light heavyweight champion Friday, lifting Jones' indefinite suspension after its lawyers reviewed his plea agreement stemming from a hit-and-run crash in Albuquerque in April.

The world's dominant mixed martial arts promotion hasn't decided on a date or opponent for Jones' return. UFC President Dana White has previously said Jones likely would get an immediate title shot against Daniel Cormier, who claimed the light heavyweight belt after Jones' ban.

"We've made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward," UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said in a statement. "We're happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person."

The 28-year-old Jones (21-1) was considered the most dominant champion in MMA until his turbulent personal life knocked him out of the cage. He has won 12 straight fights since his only loss on a sketchy disqualification, and he defended his 205-pound title eight consecutive times after winning it in March 2011 to become the youngest champion in UFC history.

Jones beat the previously unbeaten Cormier by a clear unanimous decision in January at UFC 182, but his string of misbehaviors culminated six months ago in that crash in Albuquerque, where the upstate New York native lives and trains.

Police say officers were told by witnesses that Jones ran from a crash that hospitalized a pregnant motorist and then returned to his rental car to grab a wad of cash, leaving behind a pipe with marijuana and rental car documents in his name.

Jones pleaded guilty last month to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. He will serve up to 18 months of supervised probation, but his plea deal kept a felony conviction off his record.

"I am thankful to be able to do what I love once again, and I look forward to proving myself as a champion in and outside of the octagon," Jones said in a statement.

Cormier assumed the title forfeited by Jones when he defeated Anthony "Rumble" Johnson by submission in May, and he defended the belt earlier this month with a thrilling split-decision victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192. Gustafsson also provided Jones' toughest test of Jones' career, losing a narrow unanimous decision in September 2013.

Cormier realizes the belt won't truly belong to him unless he defeats Jones. The veteran wrestler has repeatedly called on Jones to correct his behavior to set up their rematch, which seems likely to be held early next year.

Jones has kept a low public profile since his suspension, only occasionally popping up on social media. His training partners in Greg Jackson's Albuquerque gym have praised his attitude during his time away from MMA.

But Jones has a long history of slip-ups in behavior, occasionally landing him in legal trouble.

Jones tested positive for cocaine use three days after his victory over Cormier in January, but spent just one day in a treatment facility for drug abuse before checking himself out.

Jones was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in Binghamton, New York, in 2012 after smashing his Bentley into a pole. He eventually pleaded guilty and avoided jail time.

Jones and Cormier were involved in a brawl in a casino lobby in August while promoting their bout, with Jones rushing Cormier off the stage and into a crowd of fans. The Nevada Athletic Commission fined both fighters.

Jones is the brother of New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Arthur Jones.

New York Sports