The UFC’s decision to book Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Blachowicz raised immediate eyebrows with regards to the light heavyweight title picture. Now it looks as if we have our answer: Jon Jones is no longer the champion.
Jones announced on Twitter that he is relinquishing the belt instead of having a presumptive rematch with Reyes.
Just got off the phone with @Ufc, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs. It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, Ufc and most importantly you fans.— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
“Just got off the phone with [the UFC],” Jones tweeted. “Today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs. It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, UFC and most importantly you fans.”
This is the fourth time that Jones has lost the belt without actually losing a fight. Drug test failures led to him being stripped twice (once interim and once undisputed), while a hit-and-run collision led to the other strip. On this occasion, it’s his own choice to vacate a championship.
Before speculation can immediately run wild on whether or not this means Jones is serious about his move up to heavyweight — whether vs. Francis Ngannou or current champion Stipe Miocic — Jones’ follow-up tweets indicate that he’s effectively retired until he gets better pay... and then he might fight at heavyweight.
The last I spoke with @UFC about my salary there was no negotiating. If that ever changes, i’d love to come back and compete again as a heavyweight. Until then, I’ll be enjoying Ufc has a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community https://t.co/NoTTpRTMH0— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
In good faith I will be staying in the testing pool for probably the next half year or so. I’ll continue to lift weights and train all the different martial arts— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
Jones has been vocal about wanting better pay for a super showdown with Francis Ngannou and has butted heads with Dana White on this particular issue several times through social media.
He has not fought since a controversial decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. It looks like it’ll be the last defense of his light heavyweight career... but will it be the last UFC fight of his career? Stay tuned, because announcing this move literally two days after rival Daniel Cormier’s own retirement just seems a bit too coincidental.