Jon Jones has doubled down on his move up to heavyweight by claiming that he has no plans to ever fight at light-heavyweight again.
“I was just ready to challenge myself,” Jones told the Bleacher Report when asked about his decision to vacate the 205lb title that he had held for so many years. “I was ready to enter a new chapter in my career. At this point, I’m in this sport for legacy and for the biggest-paying fights, and I just don’t think that continuing on at light heavyweight was going to do much for my legacy.”
Jones went on to explain that he’s glad he can now step out of the way of the light-heavyweight division’s other challengers and let other fighters have their moment in the sun.
“The reason why I decided to vacate the light heavyweight belt and not hang on to it that I knew my move to heavyweight was going to take a really long time. I didn’t want to be one of those athletes to slow down the division. I feel like I’ve held on to the light heavyweight championship for so long – I’ve ruined so many people’s dreams of being the light heavyweight champion, and now it’s time for someone else to have it.”
Jones then clarified that he has no plans to ever go back down to 205lbs.
“I thought it was the right thing to do for everyone else. I could have done the selfish thing and held on to it, and come up with a bunch of excuses and lied to the fans, and said I was going to come back down to light heavyweight and [make] all these guys wait. I didn’t want to do that. I have no intentions of ever going back to light heavyweight.”
Jones declaration comes at a time when the 205lb division has just been given a shot-in-the-arm with the news that middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is moving up to fight current light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March.
Given Jones rivalry with Adesanya it’s interesting that he appears to be turning his back on going back down to fight him if he does become the new 205lb champion, especially since even Dana White had admitted recently that Jones vs. Adesanya is the fight he’d most like to see happen in 2021.
However, it’s fair to say that there are plenty of fights awaiting ‘Bones’ at heavyweight for now, including current champion Stipe Miocic and No.1 contender Francis Ngannou, who are expected to fight in the early months of 2021, and Jones says he’s excited by the new challenges that are on the horizon for him in this weight class.
“I’ll be ready for either of them. Both fights are extremely challenging. Stipe, he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time. He has all the stats and records to prove that. And then Francis is just a freak when it comes to knockout power, and he’s improving constantly. Both fights are gigantic challenges, but that’s what I’m here for in this stage of my career – to go big and see what I’ve got.”
“I’ve been feeling so alive lately in my training. I’ve been feeling so motivated, so inspired. It’s just a great feeling. I know this motivation and this liveliness I’ve been feeling is going to translate into dominating victories.”