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Jon Jones says he’s sitting out for a year, will return when MMA is ‘bigger than ever’

Jon Jones will take another year off?

Negotiations for his heavyweight debut hasn’t gone well for Jon Jones.

The long time light heavyweight champion has tried to secure a bout against Francis Ngannou, but money has been the sticking point with the UFC. Dana White took his normal route when fighters try to ask for more money, repeatedly questioning Jones’ desire to fight, and saying they’ll just move on if he doesn’t accept their offer.

Here’s a quick summary after they’ve failed to come to terms:

- Dana says the next title shot will just go to to Derrick Lewis.
- Jones says he’ll just wait his turn and get paid properly.
- So next next title shot? Nope. White says that will just go to Stipe Miocic.
- Jones again says he is willing to wait.
- White then tells him there’s nothing wrong with retiring “on top.”

Seemingly due to a lack of leverage and options, Jones just again doubled (tripled?) down, and said that he will likely just sit out another full year. In the mean time, he will continue his efforts to bulk up, which the former 205 lb champ says is already a challenge in itself.

Jones noted how he’ll just return when the sport is bigger, but will the UFC be willing to pay him enough to get it done then, when they haven’t been keen about it now? That strategy hasn’t worked for Henry Cejudo, who is still calling for big fights a full year after “retiring” when UFC didn’t pay the two-division champion enough to continue. It seems unlikely to pan out for Jones either, but at this point, does he really have other options?

The UFC holds all the leverage, and as White implied, they can simply “move on” and just book other heavyweights and continue to make bank. Now that they have massive guaranteed contractual deals with ESPN and others, the UFC doesn’t rely as much on pay-per-view revenue as they did in the past, and their lucrative business won’t really be affected much by Jones’ absence.

As for Jones, he’s really on an uphill battle trying to negotiate, and another year out would be significant, even if he tries to frame it like it’s a good thing. With that long a layoff, Jones would try to return at 35-years-old after losing yet another year from his prime fighting years.

That wouldn’t be truly “old” by heavyweight standards, but it would mark two years without fighting, and two years without a paycheck. And that’s not even including all the years lost due to suspension in the past.

Sitting out for a year (or just ranting on twitter) doesn’t seem like a good plan or an effective negotiation tactic, but again, what other options does Jones have?