For the first time in 3,479 days, the UFC will have a light-heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones. Dominick Reyes is expected to fight Jan Blachowicz for the official 205lb belt. This comes after Jones vacated the belt that no other fighter has taken away from him.
Jones plans on moving up to heavyweight where he may skip ahead of Francis Ngannou in the queue for a shot at Stipe Miocic. It is very exciting because fans have wanted him to do this for a long time. Only time will tell whether or not he’s able to handle the power and physicality of a legitimate heavyweight.
The Albuquerque-based fighter has feuded with the UFC over the past number of months over his contract. Furthermore, he wanted to fight Francis Ngannou but expected the promotion to pay him more money. However, the promotion didn’t want to go down that road. But now it looks like he’ll make the move to the most exciting division of them all.
To quote Tony Ferguson, fighters should defend their belts or vacate. To be fair, Jones has done exactly that but most people believe that he should give Dominick Reyes a rematch. However, Jones justifiably has no interest in making that fight. He plans on sitting on the sidelines and pretending to retire before coming back at heavyweight. He tweeted:
“Just got off the phone with @Ufc, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. 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 big question is will Jones fight for the heavyweight title next? Current champion and UFC GOAT Stipe Miocic defeated Daniel Cormier at the weekend and needs a new opponent. Francis Ngannou has knocked out everybody in his path on his road to redemption. But Jones is a box-office name. Furthermore, he clearly fancies his chances against Miocic. He tweeted last weekend:
“Avoid Stipe’s right hand, I’m too fast, I’ll be too strong when the time is right and have way too much energy. Soon and very soon I’ll be considered the baddest man on this planet.”
“Heavyweight world championships I will be seeing you real soon. Victorious.”
However, Jones has not resolved his contract dispute with the UFC. Perhaps that is why he will not get an immediate shot at the title. UFC President Dana White says that Francis Ngannou is next in line. After a string of KO wins including defeats over Junior Dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, and Jairzinho Rosenstruik, he will be aggrieved if he doesn’t get that fight. White told MMA Fighting:
“Francis has been out there destroying everybody, and if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot, he’s worked his way back,” White said “It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”
But can you imagine if Ngannou defended the heavyweight title against Jones? Now that would be box office.