LAS VEGAS – “It’s official,” according to UFC president Dana White: Jon Jones has vacated the UFC light heavyweight title.
At the DWCS 29 post-fight press conference Tuesday, White confirmed the news, which the now-former champion Jones (25-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) had revealed Monday.
Additionally, White provided some context in an interview on ESPN on Tuesday. The UFC president said Jones plans on taking some time off before jumping back into fight mode.
“Jon Jones is vacating the light heavyweight title,” White said. “Obviously, you can see he’s been tweeting. He has an interest in fighting at heavyweight. He doesn’t know when. He doesn’t know who. I think he’s going to just take some time right now and do some of the things he wants to do outside of the Octagon. When the time is right, he’ll step in and possibly fight at heavyweight.”
White didn’t voice any issues with Jones’ interest in fighting at heavyweight. In fact, White sounded supportive and indicated Jones could jump straight into a title fight. If Jones’ next fight is for the UFC heavyweight title, White said it’ll be after Francis Ngannou gets his shot at Stipe Miocic.
“(Miocic vs. Ngannou) is definitely the fight that’s going to happen at heavyweight now,” White said. “Francis Ngannou had earned that title shot. Then we’ll see what happens. We had a matchmaking meeting today. A lot of the top four or five guys are laid out for fights coming up in the fall. We’ll see what Jon Jones’ timing is to come back and who makes sense for him.”
“… Listen, (Jones) is the longtime light heavyweight champion. In my opinion, he is the greatest of all time. If he wants to come back and take a shot at the heavyweight championship, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But he can’t jump in front of Francis Ngannou right now.”
Despite his recent and public spat with the UFC, Jones is still the UFC’s president’s pick for the greatest fighter of all time.
“Well, I say it all the time,” White said. “He’s the G.O.A.T. If you look at his career right now, he’s like 26-1. He’s 27-0. He’s never been beaten in the Octagon. He’s fought the who’s who of the sport. He went through murders’ row at 205 pounds and destroyed everybody. He’s the greatest of all time.”