Jon Jones Says He's Relinquishing UFC Title, Wants Israel Adesanya Fight in 2021

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2020

Jon Jones goes through his pre-fight routine in the ring before a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Jon Jones is no longer interested in being the UFC light heavyweight champion.

The superstar fighter announced Sunday on Twitter that he was relinquishing his title and wanted a fight with Israel Adesanya:

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

#ESPN Reyes vs Jan For the UFC light heavyweight championship of the world. As of right now, I got nothing to really gain fighting either of them. Let me know if you guys want to set up a day in 2021 for that Izzy fight. Hopefully you guys will be willing to pay by then.

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

Yes https://t.co/QHDrkMtBeI

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

Bones out, when you see me in the streets just call me JJ 🤙🏾

Those remarks come after a week of Jones and UFC President Dana White clashing through the media during negotiations for a potential fight between Jones and Francis Ngannou.

White said Jones was asking for an "absurd amount of money" to participate in that fight, requesting the type of money boxer Deontay Wilder receives, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. Jones responded on Twitter by calling White a "f--king liar" and adding that his "reputation has already [taken] enough hits."

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

I don’t even make half of half of what Diante Wilder makes. If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my @Ufc contract altogether. I’m sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up.

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

And if I wanted to compare money to someone else, I would compare money to my brothers. I see firsthand the way the NFL treats their champion athletes, there’s a huge difference. I’ve kept my mouth shut my entire career.

White responded by saying Jones has tarnished his reputation all on his own, ostensibly referring to Jones' legal issues over the years.

"He can do whatever he wants. He wants to sit out, fight, he can do whatever," he said. "He can say whatever he wants publicly. It's his God-given right in America. He can say whatever he wants. When he's ready to come back, he can. In one of his tweets, he said I tarnished his name. I tarnished you? You've done a very good job of tarnishing you."

Jones clapped back at those remarks as well:

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

At no point did I ever demand anything from you Dana, I simply asked for a Super fight and asked to be compensated for it. You are the one who started talking negotiations publicly and showing the world how much you’ve been withholding from your athletes this whole time

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

Hunter and I had a very respectful conversation, I love how you’re trying to paint this picture of me being some angry guy disrespectfully demanding money. And then bringing up my out of the cage affairs to justify under paying me by tens of millions for years

Sunday's tweet might indicate that Jones has moved on from negotiating a fight with heavyweight Ngannou and is instead now focusing on middleweight champion Adesanya. Or perhaps it's all a negotiating ploy. Regardless, it's very clear Jones and White aren't remotely on the same page at this point.