Jon Jones vacates light heavyweight championship, hints again at potential heavyweight return

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3 min read

After months of contract disputes and feuds, Jon Jones is done with his light heavyweight championship.

Jones, in a series of tweets on Monday afternoon, confirmed that he had officially vacated his title and that it is “officially up for grabs.”

The 33-year-old said he would stay in the USADA drug testing pool for “probably the next half year or so” out of good faith, and that he’ll keep training for the time being.

Jones defended his light heavyweight title at UFC 247 in February, where he picked up a win over Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision. He hasn’t lost a bout in more than a decade — outside of his no-contest against Daniel Cormier in 2017 after testing positive for turinabol — and is undeniably one of the best fighters in UFC history.

Jones first captured the title in 2011 with a TKO victory over Maurico Rua at UFC 128, and defended it eight straight times before he was stripped of the belt following a hit-and-run arrest in 2015. He reclaimed the belt last year after a knockout win over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232, and has successfully defended it twice more since.

His move came just days after he tweeted that he’d be “considered the very baddest man on this planet” very soon, as he wanted a chance to claim the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic — who defended his title on Saturday against Daniel Cormier.

UFC president Dana White, though, shut that down this weekend.

“Francis [Ngannou] has been out there destroying everybody, and if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot, he’s worked his way back,” White said, via MMA Fighting. “It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”

‘I’d love to come back’

Jones didn’t close the door on a return to the Octagon, though he made it clear that his dispute with the UFC and White hasn’t been settled.

He has hinted at making the jump to heavyweight for quite some time and has talked about potential fights against both Ngannou and Miocic. Jones, however, couldn’t come to an agreement with White or the UFC and repeatedly slammed them both over “unbelievable” negotiations.

White claimed that Jones wanted “what Deontay Wilder was paid” for his rematch with Tyson Fury, but Jones pushed back and said that White was lying — and even asked to be released from his deal.

He tweeted on Monday that he would return to compete at heavyweight in the future if the UFC is willing to negotiate.

Whether he ever fights again, it seems, remains to be seen.

Jon Jones climbs onto the fence immediately after a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Jon Jones climbs onto the fence immediately after a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

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