Jon Jones announced he has relinquished the UFC light heavyweight title and is stepping away from mixed martial arts. At least for now. Jones went on to say the UFC refuses to renegotiate his salary, so he won't be fighting anymore. Perhaps more importantly, he said if he comes back, he will return as a heavyweight.
Here's the Twitter thread where he announced he was stepping away:
It sounds like Jones is willing to fight, but not at his current salary. He wants more money and he wants to fight the big boys in the heavyweight division. Unless that happens he appears content to step away as arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time.
Current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic just got done winning his third fight with Daniel Cormier. Miocic's victory at UFC 252 over the weekend ended a brilliant trilogy in which he took the final two fights. He's clearly the greatest heavyweight in UFC history, so a matchup with Jones would seems like a no-brainer fight to make right now. But UFC president Dana White has promised the next title shot to impressive knockout artist Francis Ngannou. Miocic took a decision win over the 33-year-old at UFC 220 in January 2018, but Ngannou has improved immensely since then, earning a second title shot in the process.
That leaves Jones without a superfight to make, though a matchup with the winner of an eventual Miocic-Ngannou bout would likely do great pay-per-view numbers. Maybe fans can hope for that in the future.
I don't think this is the end of the road for Jones, but if he's truly done, he's had a brilliant career. He would finish with a 26-1 record (with one no-contest) and his only loss came via disqualification back in 2009 in a fight he was dominating. If not for his repeated personal troubles outside the octagon, Jones' dominance would have been even more prolific.
The world of MMA will be losing a massive star if Jones really is walking away. With Cormier, Conor McGregor, Henry Cejudo and others now retired, it would behoove the UFC to make Jones happy. In a sport that needs star power, White is watching a lot of it walk out the door.