Jon Jones Vacates LHW Title; UFC Working on Possible Vacant Title Fight

Jon Jones
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08: Jon Jones celebrates his victory over Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has announced that he is vacating his UFC light heavyweight title. The two-time UFC light heavyweight champion announced the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon saying, “I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship”.

Jon Jones won the title in 2018 when he defeated Alexander Gustafsson for the vacant title at UFC 232. In a rematch of their epic 2013 fight, Jones finished Gustafsson in the third round to capture the title. Since he defeated Gustafsson to win the title, Jones had defended his title a total of three times.

In his first title defense, he faced off against Anthony Smith at UFC 235. Jones was deducted two points in round four for an illegal knee but he was still able to defeat Smith by unanimous decision. In his next defense, he faced Thiago Santos at UFC 239. Santos brought a very tough fight to Jones, even on damaged legs. Jones was ultimately awarded the split decision win after a close fight. Finally, his third title defense was at UFC 247 as he faced undefeated contender Dominick Reyes. Jones found himself in another very close fight, but still ended up winning by unanimous decision.

Jon Jones Vacating UFC Light Heavyweight Title

Reyes felt that he deserved a rematch with Jon Jones following their fight as many felt he could have done enough to win. There was even a moment that Reyes had said it was close to being agreed upon. However, not too long ago, Jones began disputing with the UFC about compensation and threatened to sit out and vacate his title. Him vacating his title now could be related to that as Jones also tweeted out today, “last I spoke with UFC about my salary there was no negotiating”.

In that same tweet Jones stated that if things change, he would like to make the jump to heavyweight. For years, there has been speculation as to when and if Jon Jones will make the jump to heavyweight. Now, it seems closer than ever. Jones further hinted at the move after UFC 252‘s heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

UFC Working on Possible Vacant Light Heavyweight Title Fight

Just hours before Jones broke the news, news broke of a possible fight that could be for the vacant title. Coming off his title loss to Jon Jones in February, Dominick Reyes may get another chance, this time at the vacant title. Taking him on will be winner of his last three straight, third ranked light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz. At the current moment, this fight has not been confirmed at it is just in the works. It has also not been reported as to whether or not it will be for the vacant title. It does, however, seem like the most likely match-up so it would not be surprising if it were confirmed soon.

Reyes vs. Blachowicz in the Works

Before he lost to Jon Jones, Dominick Reyes had put together an undefeated record of 12-0. He made his UFC debut in 2017 and won six straight fights en route to a title shot. In his last four prior to his fight with Jones, he won two by decision and finished two by KO/TKO. The first of those wins occurred at UFC Fight Night 129 as he finished Jared Cannonier by first round TKO. Reyes followed that win up with two decision wins over two former title challengers in Ovince Saint Preux and Volkan Oezdemir.

In his last fight before facing Jon Jones, Reyes knocked out former middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC on ESPN 6. If his fight with Blachowicz is for the vacant title, Reyes will look to capitalize this time around and make sure he walks away with gold.

As for Blachwicz, this would be his first shot at gold during his six year career in the UFC. Blachowicz has lost just one time in his last eight outings after losing to Thiago Santos by TKO last year. He holds submission wins over Devin Clark and Nikita Krylov as well as decision wins over Jared Cannonier and Jimi Manuwa.

Since his loss to Santos, Blachowicz has won three straight with two of those wins coming by knockout. The first of those wins was against former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 239. He finished the former champ that night, knocking him out in round two. Blachowicz would then win his second straight as he defeated Ronaldo Souza by split decision in their main event at UFC Fight Night 164. In his most recent fight, Blachowicz knocked out Corey Anderson in round one of their main event at UFC Fight Night 167.

MAIN IMAGE:
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here