Jon Jones is no longer the UFC light heavyweight champion.
On Monday, Jones revealed that after having a conversation with the promotion about his future, he decided to vacate his 205-pound title effective immediately.
“Just got off the phone with UFC, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship,” Jones tweeted. “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 has remained at odds with the UFC for the past few months after he expressed interest in moving up to heavyweight for a potential showdown with Francis Ngannou. Immediately after engaging in talks to make that fight happen, Jones revealed that negotiations were shut down when he claimed the UFC refused to budge on financial constraints.
UFC President Dana White later said that Jones was asking for “absurd” money to face Ngannou, which only seemed to exacerbate the rising tensions between the fighter and the promotion.
Jones eventually added that he had no desire to compete again for the UFC until he felt like he was being paid what he was worth. Following his discussion with the promotion on Monday, it appears Jones is sticking to his guns on that subject.
“The last I spoke with UFC about my salary there was no negotiating,” Jones said. “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 [USADA] testing pool for probably the next half year or so. I’ll continue to lift weights and train all the different martial arts.”
Jones continuing to be tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency would allow him to return at any time. If he ever decides to drop out, however, Jones would be required to undergo at least six months of testing before he could fight.
Just this past weekend, Jones teased a potential move up to heavyweight again after watching Stipe Miocic defend his title against former foe Daniel Cormier in the UFC 252 main event. Jones seemed ready for the challenge to face Miocic for the title but White later shot down that idea while proclaiming Ngannou as the next person in line for a chance at heavyweight gold.
White added that Jones moving to heavyweight was “interesting” but he wasn’t going to commit to anything just yet.
Following his initial series of messages, Jones offered one additional update after having more dialogue with the UFC about his future.
“Just had a really positive conversation with UFC,” Jones wrote. “Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavyweight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins.
“It would’ve been fun [to be a two-division champion] but have you seen the size of the guys in my family? I really do believe putting on a little extra weight is going to bring out my true genetic/athletic potential.”
As for the light heavyweight title, a rumored fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz is reportedly being targeted for UFC 253 in September. If that matchup is finalized, it would seem like the perfect fight to crown a new light heavyweight champion, although nothing has been decided at this time.
No matter what happens, Jones doesn’t seem to think anybody will be touching the records he made as champion atop the 205-pound division.
Jones holds the record for most consecutive title defenses at light heavyweight in the UFC with eight in a row.