UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones on Monday announced that he has relinquished the title. In addition to that, it sounds as if he has no intention of fighting again any time soon.
At odds over his contract, Jones has apparently decided to sideline himself unless and until the UFC is willing to pay him more money.
"Just got off the phone with (the UFC), today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs," Jones wrote on Monday. "It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, UFC and most importantly you fans."
"The last I spoke with (the 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 as a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community."
While giving up the belt was a bit of a surprise, it wasn't all that shocking that Jones mentioned wanting to return as a heavyweight. It follows his refrain from Saturday night, where he hinted at a move to heavyweight after watching Stipe Miocic defeat Daniel Cormier in the UFC 252 main event.
"Heavyweight championships, I will be seeing you real soon," he wrote after Miocic's unanimous decision victory.
During the UFC 252 pos-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White insisted that Jones was not in his immediate plans for Miocic. He instead stated that top contender Francis Ngannou would be next for the heavyweight champion.
“Francis is definitely next,” White said. “I mean, you can’t jump over Francis. Francis has been out there destroying everybody, and if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot (against Miocic), he’s worked his way back. It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”
Evidently it wasn't interesting enough for White to offer Jones what he wanted in terms of his contract.
It doesn't appear that Jones is ready to give up on the UFC just yet, however. He went on to state that he would remain in the USADA testing pool in a good faith effort to see if the UFC would negotiate a new agreement that is more to his liking.
"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."
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