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Jon Jones “shocked” due to UFC’s treatment – Could vacate title

"I feel like I don't have to answer to them if this is how they're going to treat me"

 A clear rift has begun between the UFC and Jon Jones, which might even make him vacate his light heavyweight title.

We are in the era of superfights and champions testing the water at other weight classes. Despite this, the UFC doesn’t seem entirely sold on all champions doing the same. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has talked about a potential move to heavyweight for many years. After UFC 249, where heavyweight slugger Francis Ngannou lined up his fourth straight first round T/KO, the two began exchanging words. While nothing unpleasant came up, the two were clearly interested in a fight at heavyweight.

It seemed like the ideal superfight, light heavyweight champ vs the heavyweight division’s scariest KO artist. However, the UFC did not feel the same. Negotiations went south quickly, and the fight never materialised.

Now, in an interview with John Morgan of MMA Junkie, Jones opened up about the rift between him and the UFC.

“Honestly, I’m just in a spot where I’m shocked,” Jones said. “I feel like the UFC have told me and my management team for years that if I ever wanted to reach a certain level in the sport and really get to a certain level of pay, that I had to take the really big fights, and I had to kind of step out of my comfort zone and be willing to take those megafights – and specifically, the heavyweight division. 

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“The UFC clearly told me that they would redo my contract the day I went heavyweight, and it would be a different deal, so I’ve always held that in my back pocket, that my goal is to fight at light heavyweight for a long time until I got to a place that I’ve got nothing else to prove, and then retire as a heavyweight with some real big fights – risk putting it all on the line against these guys that could cause some serious damage. Thursday, I found out that that’s just simply not happening, and it’s upsetting. I feel like someone’s put a little bit of a limit on my ceiling.”

While this certainly paints a damning picture, the UFC have not yet commented on the matter. However it seems that Jones is genuinely hurt over the way things went. He doesn’t see many legitimate challengers left at light heavyweight and would even consider vacating his title if he’s not satisfied.

“If this is how the UFC feels about me and that I’m really worth, and they don’t want to give me a piece of the pie in any way, then I don’t want to have to live by their schedule,” Jones said. “I feel like I don’t have to answer to them if this is how they’re going to treat me. I’m totally fine with them vacating the belt, letting someone else fight for the belt, and I’ll come around I guess when I’m ready to, and I’ll see if they’re willing to pay for a really big fight. But as of right now, to fight Jan Blachowicz, what do I have to gain there? To fight Dominick Reyes? Any one of them, I don’t have much to gain in these situations.

“As a partner, it was always very clear that my best days would be when I move to heavyweight, but now they just shit on all that, and I’m hurt, to be honest with you.”

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With roots in muay thai and as an avid combat sports fan, Sebastian Vendel-Martinez grew up while the MMA scene was blossoming in Sweden. He became part of the MMAnytt team in 2012 and has gone on to become one of the most prominent MMA reporters in Scandinavia. Currently he continues to work as a writer, reporter, video producer/editor and head editor for MMAnytt.com

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