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Why An Ongoing Feud With A UFC Rival Could Have Potentially Fuelled Jon Jones' Latest Decision

Why An Ongoing Feud With A UFC Rival Could Have Potentially Fuelled Jon Jones' Latest Decision

Potentially retiring? Simply vacating? Or has he got bigger plans he's not telling us about?

Either way, Jon Jones has vacated his UFC light heavyweight title following an ongoing pay dispute with his employer.

The 33-year-old took to Twitter to make his announcement.

"Just got off the phone with the UFC, today I confirm that I'm vacating the light heavyweight championship," Jones said.

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"It's officially up for grabs.

"It's been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, UFC and most importantly you fans."

The move has sent fight fans across the globe into a frenzy, putting the question on their lips as to whether a long-awaited move to the heavyweight division is finally on the cards.

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Jones clinched a tight decision victory over Dominick Reyes in his last fight in February. Credit: PA
Jones clinched a tight decision victory over Dominick Reyes in his last fight in February. Credit: PA

Despite holding a 26-1-0 record (let's forget about that no contest for a second) in the light heavyweight division, Jones' legitimacy and 'GOAT status' has always been probed by mixed martial arts tragics for some reason.

While his fighting often does the talking, no one can deny that Jones' controversial antics outside of the octagon have undoubtedly swayed people's opinions on him.

And with that being said, it has always been the thought of UFC die-hards that in order for 'Bones' to truly cement his legacy then he'd have to move up a division and win the heavyweight title.

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But in doing so, he'd be following in the footsteps of another UFC great - a man he's all too familiar with.

Daniel Cormier pictured with his light heavyweight and heavyweight belts. Credit: PA
Daniel Cormier pictured with his light heavyweight and heavyweight belts. Credit: PA

Daniel Cormier - whose running feud with Jones ended in that infamous no contest fight after Jeff Novitzky and USADA came sniffing - retired this weekend following his trilogy bout with current heavyweight king Stipe Miocic.

Despite losing in the initial rematch and their third fight, DC will forever have his name carved into the UFC history books after his first win over Miocic which catapulted him into an elite club of fighters to hold two belts simultaneously.

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In addition to his ability inside the cage, Cormier's loveable personality and natural gift of calling fights as a UFC commentator means he's an instant fan favourite among viewers.

The same can't exactly be said for Jones.

Whether he's dabbling in PEDs or getting behind the wheel of a car after having a few beverages, fans just don't seem to warm to him quite like they do with DC.

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Jon Jones Responds To Stipe Miocic's UFC 252 Win Over Daniel Cormier
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And at just 33, arguably in the prime of his career, you have to question Jones' motives for vacating the belt and leaving the 205 pound division in his rear-view mirror.

Some, including TMZ, think that UFC president Dana White is expecting Jones to retire.

But this is Jon 'Bones' Jones we're talking about here.

Jones is carried out of the octagon following his fight with Thiago Santos. Credit: PA
Jones is carried out of the octagon following his fight with Thiago Santos. Credit: PA

In an ideal world, most fans would give a right arm to see Jones move up in weight to take on Miocic for the heavyweight crown.

And even if that blockbuster showdown can't be made, seeing the towering, long-limbed Jones go toe-to-toe with Cameroonian powerhouse Francis Ngannou would have even the most skeptical of fight fans licking their lips.

It goes without saying, and this is no disrespect to the likes of Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, but the heavyweight division is the place to be for Jones.

After a 21-year-old Jones first burst onto the scene and wiped out the rest of the competition with relative ease, the light heavyweight division has never been the same - it's hardly the star-studded class of big-name personalities it used to be.

Just like in boxing, the power is back in the hands of the heavyweights.

While the reasons for Jones' decision to vacate remain unknown (and they probably will for some time), us fight fans can keep making wild guesses until we're blue in the face.

But if one thing is for certain, seeing his old foe Cormier earn the respect of supporters with his move up to heavyweight will undoubtedly fuel the burning fire in Jones' massive ego.

And if it doesn't, it definitely should be.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Heavyweight, Retirement, Light Heavyweight, UFC, latest news, Australia, MMA, heavyweight champion, Dana White, Updates

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Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.