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UFC Champion Jon Jones vacates light heavyweight title

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 03: UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones speaks to the media during the UFC 182 post fight press conference inside the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on January 3, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After months of contract disputes and feuds, Jon Jones has announced that he has vacated his light heavyweight championship.

In a series of tweets on Monday afternoon, the UFC light heavyweight champion confirmed that he had officially vacated his title and that it is “officially up for grabs.”

“It’s officially up for grabs,” Jones tweeted. “It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, Ufc and most importantly you fans.”

In a subsequent tweet, Jones wrote that he will have negotiations with the UFC on a potential fight at heavyweight.

“Just had a really positive conversation with @Ufc,” Jones wrote. “Sounds like there will be negotiations for my next fight at heavy weight. All good news, the weight gaining process begins.”

Jones and the UFC had been publicly feuding over money since May, when Jones expressed interest in moving up to heavyweight to fight feared knockout artist Francis Ngannou.

However, Monday’s tweet indicated that there has been progress.

Jones joins Henry Cejudo as recent fighters to vacate their title while still champion, with Cejudo first dropping the flyweight title to focus fully on the bantamweight division, but then vacating the bantamweight title and retiring in a shocking moment after defeating Dominick Cruz in Cejudo’s first defense of the bantamweight championship.

Similarly, Georges St-Pierre retired twice, once while holding the welterweight championship and a second time after winning the middleweight title.

This is the first time Jones has willing given up his title as well. He was stripped of the title in April 2015 after defeating Daniel Cormier for “violating the UFC’s Athlete Code of Conduct” following a hit-and-run accident in New Mexico. He was then stripped of the belt in April 2016 following a failed drug test, and again in August 2017 for another failed test.

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