UFC great Jon Jones has officially vacated his light-heavyweight title with the goal of moving up to heavyweight to fight champion Stipe Miocic, who just retired Daniel Cormier at UFC 252 last weekend.
“Just got off the phone with @ufc, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “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.”
MMA Junkie offers some background on why "Bones" gave up his light-heavyweight strap:
Jones most recently competed at UFC 247 in February when he earned a somewhat controversial decision win over Dominick Reyes. There was talk of a rematch, but then Jones sparked up conversation about a move to heavyweight to fight Francis Ngannou.
That’s what led to the tension between Jones and the UFC brass. He believed he deserved more money to move up a weight class, but White said he wasn’t budging on the issue. Jones would later say he’d step back from fighting unless progress was made.
Jones, widely considered the GOAT of UFC light-heavyweights, seemed confident he could handle Cleveland firefighter-turned UFC champ Miocic while live tweeting the championship fight.
"Avoid Stipe’s right hand, I’m too fast, I’ll be too strong when the time is right and have way too much energy, Jones tweeted after watching Miocic defeat Cormier for a second time. "Soon and very soon I’ll be considered the baddest man on this planet."
Jones—whose 14 wins in title fights are the most in UFC history—later confirmed on Twitter that his next fight would be at heavyweight.
“Just had a really positive conversation with UFC,” Jones wrote on August 17. “Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavy weight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins."
UFC boss Dana White has indicated that Miocic will likely next defend his heavyweight belt against Ngannou, but looks like "Bones" could be facing the winner of that fight sometime in the near future.