If he wanted to, Jon Jones could’ve kept the light heavyweight title, gone for heavyweight gold, and possibly become the UFC’s fifth “double-champ.” Instead, the 33-year-old “Bones” decided to give up the 205-pound belt before moving up to chase after bigger, heavier competition.
Looking through his ever-interesting Twitter feed, Jones never really explained why he came up with this decision, until Thursday evening.
I vacated the light heavyweight championship because I knew my heavyweight goals were going to take some time. I wasn’t going to play games with the contenders and make people fight interim championship belts. There’s little rest on the throne— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 28, 2020
Seeing how Jones didn’t want to hold up divisions like other ex-champions resonated well among his contemporaries. One of those who appreciated this gesture was former challenger Anthony Smith.
“I’m not typically the guy that’s got a whole bunch of nice things to say about Jon Jones, but that’s a noble thing to do,” Smith told MMA Fighting ahead of his Saturday fight against Aleksandar Rakic. “He could’ve held onto that title for a long time and gone up to heavyweight, and done his thing, and talked about coming back down or not coming back down and drag everyone out for a long time.
“But he didn’t do that. It was a surprise to me and I think that says a lot of positive things about where Jon Jones is right now in his life. And it was a cool thing.”
According to UFC president Dana White, Jones could be looking at an immediate title shot for his first fight at heavyweight.