UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and UFC President Dana White have been in the midst of a spat ever since White asserted that Jones wanted a higher than normal amount of money to fight Francis Ngannou, which is something Jones has denied.
Jones has stated that he would vacate the UFC Light Heavyweight Title and Jones’ trainer in Mike Winkeljohn says the fighter is making a serious threat.
“I think Jon is serious. He is really happy right now,” Winkeljohn told BJPenn.com. “He’s spent a lot of time with his girls and has matured. He’s focusing on taking care of his family and today he is cleaning up glass after the riots. Last night, he stopped someone who was trying to spray paint. I believe Jon has grown up. He also only has so many fights he wants before his career is over and he wants to be paid for those fights. Jon is also looking at what the boxers are making and we know there is more money for him to be made. I had a conversation on Sunday with Jon and he is serious about vacating the belt and walking away. He told me he has no problem sitting out and not fighting and just hanging out with his girls.”
Former two division UFC champion Daniel Cormier, who is a longtime rival of Jones, also believes that Jones is serious about vacating the strap.
“I believe that he is more serious about walking away because in all those times that he was suspended and hurt and all that other stuff - gone - he kinda learned to live without that belt,” Cormier said on DC & Helwani (via Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “For a long time he held the belt that when he lost the belt the first time, he probably thought his world was ending. But then he was gone for two years and life probably didn’t seem all that different. So he’s probably looking at life right now and understanding that, ‘if I walk away from this belt, is my life really gonna change all that much?’ I think that gives him comfort, and being able to say the things that he’s saying. So I think to a degree he does believe, I do believe, that he’s serious.”
White has also spoken out since Jones’ title vacating threat, saying it is up to Jones to decide the future of his MMA career.