UFC light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones seemingly relinquished his title on Sunday amid a pay dispute with MMA’s flagship promotion.
Jones has been linked with a match-up against heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou in recent weeks, a bout that would mark Jones’ first contest in a division other than light heavyweight in the UFC.
But any chance of the fight happening appeared to dissipate over the weekend, as Jones and UFC president Dana White engaged in a public dispute over the former’s pay.
“To the light-heavyweight title – veni, vidi, vici,” tweeted Jones. Asked if was giving up his title, he wrote: “Yes.”
When one of Jones’ Twitter followers suggested the American was doing more damage to himself than UFC by walking away, Jones said: “I hurt myself every time I walk out there and take a punch to the head and not feel my pay is worth it anymore.”
Following UFC’s last card, on Saturday night in Las Vegas, White said: ”[Jones] can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out, he can fight, he can whatever.
“Jon Jones can say whatever he wants publicly. It’s his God-given right here in America. He can say whatever he wants. And when he’s ready to come back and fight, he can.”
White added that Jones (26-1, 1 NC) wanted “crazy” money to fight Ngannou (15-3), who is seen as one of the most dangerous competitors in the sport. The Cameroonian-Frenchman is on a four-fight win streak, with all of those victories coming via first-round knockout. In his last bout, Ngannou defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Jones last fought in February, successfully defending his light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision, though many fans believe the challenger should have been awarded the victory.
Jones also tweeted: “Reyes vs Jan [Blachowicz] for the UFC light heavyweight championship of the world. As of right now, I got nothing to really gain fighting either of them. Let me know if you guys want to set up a day in 2021 for that [Israel Adesanya] fight. Hopefully you guys will be willing to pay by then.”
Adesanya is UFC’s middleweight champion, and has exchanged trash talk with Jones on social media in recent months, leading many fans to call for a super-fight between the two.
On Sunday, Jones also uploaded an Instagram video in which he takes spray paint cans from protestors in his adopted hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where people marched in support of George Floyd, a black American who died in Minneapolis a week ago after a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes.
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