Jon Jones Vacates UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

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Jon Jones
Jon Jones Credit: Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com

Multi-time UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has vacated the title he has held off and on since 2011.

Jones (26-1, 1NC) made the announcement Monday, just as news of a fight between top contenders Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes was announced. Jones was a keen observer of the heavyweight title fight at UFC 252, featuring rival Daniel Cormier against Stipe Miocic. But he has not fought since UFC 247 earlier this year.

“Bones” has occasionally hinted at moving to the UFC’s heavyweight division, and earlier this year was seeking a fight with Francis Ngannou. However, agreeable terms could not be reached with the promotion, and Jones went so far as to hint that he’d be willing to sit out long term until his financial demands were met.

It seems they haven’t been, based on his statements Monday.

“Just got off the phone with UFC, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs. It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, UFC and most importantly you fans,” he wrote on Twitter.

While that sounded positive enough, Jones went on to add that “The last I spoke with 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.”

Jones went on to confirm that he would continue to remain in the USADA testing pool “in good faith.”

Jon Jones was the youngest UFC champion when he first won the light heavyweight title from Shogun Rua at UFC 128. However as dominant as he was in the cage, he was plagued by scandals, from DUI incidents to drugs to PEDs, to a hit and run incident involving a pregnant woman.

Most recently, Jones was found intoxicated and in possession of a firearm. He remains the only UFC fighter to have been stripped of a title on three separate occasions (twice for performance enhancing drugs, once for violating the UFC’s code of conduct).

Update, 8PM ET: Things appear to have taken a positive turn within the last hour. “Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavyweight,” Bones wrote in a new Twitter post.

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