For the last few months, the UFC‘s light heavyweight division has been in a state of limbo. The current champion and pound-for-pound top fighter in the world, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) has been in a dispute with the UFC.
The dispute had to deal with fighter pay. Jones expressed interesting in moving up in weight to fight Francis Ngannou in a super fight, but he wanted a little more money. The UFC said no, and then the public dispute started.
There was a ton of back and forth where people were being called liars. Jones even called for his UFC release due to the talks. Many were left wondering if the UFC would release Jones or at least strip him of his title.
Earlier this week, Dana White said that the promotion had no plans on stripping Jones anytime soon. Recently he also said the promotion would work things out with Jones. He shed a little more light on that with an interview with ESPN.
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“We’re making moves on that (the light heavyweight division)… We’re actually waiting to hear back from Jon Jones right now,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
White was later interviewed by The Schmo where he was asked about Jones’ future at light heavyweight. “If he stays at light heavyweight, he’s got to fight Reyes again. You have to see that fight again,” White told The Schmo.
It’s very clear what the UFC‘s plan is if Jon Jones returns to the division he’s reigned over for so long. It appears that the promotion will try to make the rematch with Dominick Reyes (12-1) happen.
The two men fought at UFC 247 back in February and the fight was razor close. Many people didn’t think Jones won the fight. In fact, 14 of 21 journalists scoring the fight, had the fight for Dominick Reyes.
The big question will be if Jones returns to light heavyweight. Maybe Jones just wants to be done with the division. There are plenty of options for him at heavyweight whether it be a fight with Ngannou or a potential fight with Stipe Miocic.
If Jones were to vacate the light heavyweight title, Reyes would be fighting for the vacant title. Reyes would likely take on Jan Blachowicz (26-8) if there were to be a vacant title fight.
Either way, we should see the light heavyweight title contested in the UFC before the end of the year. My guess is that we will see Jon Jones make his return to light heavyweight. I think it’ll be another year before we see a potential move to heavyweight. There’s always that Israel Adesanya fight that’s potentially just a year away at 205.