Jon Jones officially ended his latest run as the UFC light heavyweight titleholder on Monday, saying that he’s vacating the 205-pound weight class’ top spot.
Jones (26-1) has fought at light heavyweight for essentially his entire MMA career, and hasn’t lost a bout since a disqualification vs. Matt Hamill back in 2009.
Jones Virtually Perfect in Octagon
He went on to win the UFC light heavyweight title in 2011 by finishing Mauricio Rua in the third round at UFC 128. Since that time, he’s only lost the title due to failed drug tests and issues away from the cage. One victory over Daniel Cormier changed to a no-contest after Jones tested positive for turinabol.
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.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
“Today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship,” Jones wrote on Twitter Monday. “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 last fought in February when he defended his title against Dominick Reyes. It proved to be one of the toughest bouts of Jones’ career, with many people believing Reyes had won the fight. Jones, however, earned a unanimous decision from the judges.
On Tuesday, Jones suggested that he would do better in a rematch against Reyes, if such a fight ever takes place.
Reminds me of when I fought Gus, Did great against me became really famous and then time was able to prove he was just like the rest. https://t.co/sj6sEA43TC
— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 18, 2020
“Reminds me of when I fought Gus,” Jones said, referencing his two fights against Alexander Gustafsson. “Did great against me, became really famous, and then time was able to prove he was just like the rest.”
Jones won a tight decision over Gustafsson in 2013, but scored a third-round knockout against the Swedish fighter in 2018.
Ngannou Targeted as Next Opponent
Though Jones decided to end his run at light heavyweight, he doesn’t plan to stop fighting completely. The 33-year-old has talked about fighting heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou in recent months, though he’s been among the several UFC fighters who have found themselves haggling with the promotion over money.
On Monday, Jones suggested that he’s on his way to securing a heavyweight bout sometime soon.
Just had a really positive conversation with @Ufc. Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavy weight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
“Just had a really positive conversation with UFC,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavyweight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins.”
Who Jones might fight is less clear. UFC president Dana White told reporters that Ngannou would likely be the next challenge for heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic after Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 252. That could make booking a fight between Jones and either of them difficult. Other options could include No. 2 contender Curtis Blaydes or Cormier, who has said he plans to retire.
Sportsbooks have paid the most attention to a potential Jones vs. Ngannou fight. FanDuel lists Jones as a -130 favorite over Ngannou (+108) in the hypothetical bout.
Meanwhile, the UFC must now book a light heavyweight title fight to fill Jones’ vacancy. The promotion has already penciled in Reyes to fight Jan Blachowicz on Sept. 26 — a fight that could easily become a championship event.