UFC superstar Jon Jones wrote on Twitter Monday that he has officially vacated his 205-pound title.
Presumably it would be because he is planning on moving up to the heavyweight division after years of speculation, however it’s not quite that straightforward.
“Just got off the phone with UFC, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship,” Jones wrote. “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.”
Jones followed that initial tweet up by suggesting he’ll be stepping away from active competition for the foreseeable future until he renegotiates his contract and gets a pay raise.
“The last I spoke with UFC about my salary there was no negotiating,” Jones wrote. “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. … 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.”
Jones did the same thing earlier this year when he tweeted in late May that he was giving up his title.
At the time, Jones had offered to fight popular heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou but insisted on being incentivized with more money since he’d be moving up a weight class.
The UFC did not facilitate a Jones-Ngannou matchup and UFC president Dana White called Jones’s demands “crazy.”
Jones was tweeting up a storm this past weekend during the UFC 252 main event between current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and Jones’s longtime rival Daniel Cormier.
“Heavyweight world championships I will be seeing you real soon,” was among the things Jones tweeted while suggesting a move to heavyweight was imminent.
Jones made his announcement on Monday roughly two hours after ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported a bout between top light-heavyweight contenders Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz was being negotiated for a Sept. 26 event. If Jones truly is out of the picture, this bout would likely end up being for the vacant title.
Jones last fought in February when he won a unanimous decision against Reyes at UFC 247, however many onlookers believed Reyes should’ve had his hand raised instead.
The 33-year-old Jones is the No. 1-ranked fighter on the UFC’s official pound-for-pound fighter rankings and widely considered the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. He has a mixed martial arts record of 26-1 with one-no contest and his lone loss was a 2009 disqualification against Matt Hamill in a fight he was dominating.
Jones holds notable victories over former champions Daniel Cormier, Rashad Evans, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Vitor Belfort, plus Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Chael Sonnen and current Bellator two-weight champion Ryan Bader.