Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 252 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
The reigning light heavyweight champion announced via Twitter on Monday that he has officially vacated his 205-pound belt.
“Just got off the phone with [the UFC],” Jones wrote. “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.”
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
Jones threatened to vacate the belt while engaged in a public dispute with the UFC over money for a potential move to heavyweight and a fight with Francis Ngannou earlier this year.
“Bones out. When you see me in the streets just call me JJ,” Jones wrote in May. “To the light heavyweight title veni, vidi, vici.”
While the move may seem to hint that Jones is planning a transition to heavyweight, it appears the bitter feelings of the previous negotiations still linger for the Jackson-Wink MMA standout. In a separate tweet, Jones wrote that he plans on enjoying the UFC as a fan while posting a link to his charity, entitled C.A.R.E. Project.
“The last I spoke with [the 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 has a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community.”
The last I spoke with @UFC about my salary there was no negotiating. If that ever changes, i’d love to come back and compete again as a heavyweight. Until then, I’ll be enjoying Ufc has a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community https://t.co/NoTTpRTMH0— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
Jones expressed a renewed interest in moving up to heavyweight in the aftermath of the UFC 252 main event, which saw Stipe Miocic defeat Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“Heavyweight championships I will be seeing you real soon,” he wrote Saturday on Twitter. “Victorious.”
For the time being, it appears that Jones and the UFC are still relatively far apart when it comes to financial matters. Regardless, Jones’ decision to vacate the light heavyweight belt marks the end of an era in the Las Vegas-based promotion. Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history when he defeated Mauricio Rua at UFC 128 and despite drug test failures and issues outside of the cage, is widely regarded as the greatest light heavyweight of all-time.
Jones last competed at UFC 247, where he earned a contentious decision victory over Dominick Reyes on Feb. 8.
Update: Jones appears to have made some progress in his negotiations with the UFC. He tweeted the following later on Monday: "Just had a really positive conversation with [the UFC]. Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavyweight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins."
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
Note: This article was updated at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET to include an additional statement from Jones.