Jon Jones announced Monday on Twitter that he has vacated the UFC light heavyweight title he has held off and on for nearly a decade.
In a subsequent tweet, Jones wrote that he’d like to move up to heavyweight if the UFC is open to negotiating a new contract, but until then he’ll be enjoying the sport as “a fan.”
“It’s officially up for grabs,” Jones wrote of the UFC light heavyweight title. “It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, Ufc and most importantly you fans.”
Jones is not retiring at the moment, he made clear on Twitter. He wrote that he will be remaining in the USADA drug-testing pool “for probably the next half year or so.” Leaving that pool signifies that a fighter has retired or moved on from the UFC. In order to compete again after leaving the pool, a fighter has to enter back into it and be subject to drug testing for a period of six months.
Since 2011, Jones has all but owned the UFC light heavyweight division. He was the youngest fighter to ever win a UFC title when he won the belt at 23 years old. Jones, now 33, has the most consecutive light heavyweight title bouts in UFC history (14), and the most light heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (11).
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history. He has the longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18) and his only career loss came in 2009 via disqualification. Jones’ 11 total title defenses tie him with Demetrious Johnson for the most title defenses ever in the promotion. Jones also owns wins over former champions like Daniel Cormier, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.
The only times Jones has not held the UFC light heavyweight title since 2011 were when Cormier held it. Jones was stripped of the belt in 2015 after a felony hit-and-run arrest. He beat Cormier in 2017 to win the title back, but the bout was overturned to a no contest due to a Jones positive drug test for a steroid metabolite. The gold went back to Cormier.
That was Jones’ second anti-doping suspension, though both times USADA found he did not intentionally ingest a prohibited substance.
In his last fight, Jones beat Dominick Reyes in what was a controversial decision at UFC 247 in February. UFC president Dana White has said that Reyes deserved a rematch after a bout that many thought Reyes won. Jones tweeted last Saturday night that he intended to move up to heavyweight, following Stipe Miocic‘s successful heavyweight title defense against Cormier.
But now it seems that is on hold until the UFC comes to the negotiating table. Jones and the UFC have been publicly feuding over money since May when Jones expressed interest in moving up to heavyweight to fight feared knockout artist Francis Ngannou.
“If that ever changes, i’d love to come back and compete again as a heavyweight,” Jones wrote on Monday. “Until then, I’ll be enjoying Ufc has [sic] a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community.”