Jon Jones has vacated the UFC Light Heavyweight championship, he revealed on his Twitter.
The 205lbs reigning champion has been in dispute with the UFC about his pay going back several months now, claiming he has no desire to fight for the organisation until he is paid what he believes he’s worth.
After winning the championship back in 2011 as a 24 year old, Jones hasn’t lost a single fight. He was stripped of the UFC title on two separate occasions due to problems with the law and failed drugs tests but won the title back at the first attempt every time he returned.
After clearing out the division, Jones has hinted at a move up to heavyweight to become “the baddest man on the planet” but wants to be paid to make the jump.
UFC President Dana White says Jones wants an “obscene” amount of money, something Jones has denied but there was hope a compromise was close when Jones called out Stipe Miocic on Twitter following his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 252.
However Jones took to Twitter on Monday night to announce that following a phone conversation with the UFC, he had made the decision to officially vacate the 205lbs division title and proceed as a fan until a compromise could be made.
Jones has left the door open for a potential swift return, by revealing he’ll be staying in the USADA testing pool for the next six months in the hope something can be sorted between both parties.
In the meantime, the UFC are proceeding with the light heavyweight division and are looking to set up a bout between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253 on September 26th for the vacant title. That bout isn’t official just yet, but reports suggest it is close to being finalised.
With Jones essentially “retiring” from action right now, the UFC has to go without its two biggest stars heading into 2021 unless something changes. With Conor McGregor also “retired”, the company is focused on creating new stars to lead them into the future but with the shadows of both Jones and McGregor looming, it’s a harder job to complete than ever before.
Jones then tweeted later in the evening that he spoke again with the UFC and there was a positive outcome this time, with the two parties seemingly agreeing to at least negotiate a new contract.
Hopefully a compromise can be found swiftly and we’ll see Jones return as a heavyweight, where a large amount of interesting match-ups await him. If not, we could well have seen the last of the greatest of all time.