UFC
Jon Jones has taken on the powerful UFC supremo Dana White over appearance money. Image Credit: Facebook

Dubai In another dramatic twist to the Jon ‘Bones’ Jones versus UFC saga, the American fighter surrendered his light heavyweight title to protest against what he feels is not being paid ‘what he is worth.’

One of the most dangerous fighters to grace the Octagon, Jones is regarded as one of greatest and controversial Mixed Martial Art’s fighters of all time.

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The 33-year-old, who had recently been targeting a move up to the heavyweight division to take on Francis Ngannou, has run foul with UFC boss Dana White who has claimed that Jones is bargaining for “absurd” money for the fight.

According to White, Jones wanted “Deontay Wilder money”, referring to Wilder’s reported $25-30 million earnings in his rematch with Tyson Fury held in February 2020.

With talks falling apart, Jones revealed that he has decided to vacate his 205-pound title effective immediately.

“Just got off the phone with UFC, 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 and the UFC have been at odds as a result of his failed drug tests and sexual misdemeanours, the most recent being when he was charged with battery involving a cocktail waitress at a strip club in his native Albuquerque.

His recent demands of big money to face Ngannou have only seemed to worsen the tension between the fighter and the UFC. “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.”

If Jones agreees to be tested by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, it allows him to return to the sport at any time. Should he decide to drop out, he would be required to undergo at least six months of testing before he could fight again.

Just this past weekend, after watching Stipe Miocic defend his title against Jones’ former rival Daniel Cormier at UFC 252, he teased that he is ready for the challenge to face Miocic for the title.

However, Australian Robert White later shot down that idea while proclaiming Ngannou as the next person in line for a chance at heavyweight gold.

Meanwhile, White acknowledged that Jones moving to heavyweight was “interesting” but that he had not committed to anything just yet.

Jones is confident that something will come out of his plan to move to the 250-270 lb division and said of his conversation with UFC: “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.”

Meanwhile, with the light heavyweight title up for grabs, a rumoured fight between Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz is being targeted for UFC 253 in September. That could be the perfect fight to crown a new light heavyweight champion.

Jones holds the record for most consecutive title defenses at light heavyweight in the UFC with eight in a row.

Current light heavyweight rankings

1 Dominick Reyes

2 Thiago Santos

3 Jan Blachowicz

4 Glover Teixeira

5 Anthony Smith

6 Jiri Prochazka

7 Volkan Oezdemir

8 Aleksandar Rakic

9 Nikita Krylov

10 Misha Cirkunov