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Dana White open to Jon Jones fighting for UFC heavyweight title but not before Francis Ngannou

LAS VEGAS – “It’s official,” according to UFC president Dana White: Jon Jones has vacated the light heavyweight title.

On Tuesday, White confirmed the news, which the now-former champion Jones (25-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) had revealed Monday. Additionally, White provided some context in an interview on ESPN, saying Jones plans on taking some time off before jumping back into fight mode.

“Jon Jones is vacating the light heavyweight title,” White said. “Obviously, you can see he’s been tweeting. He has an interest in fighting at heavyweight. He doesn’t know when. He doesn’t know who. I think he’s going to just take some time right now and do some of the things he wants to do outside of the octagon. When the time is right, he’ll step in and possibly fight at heavyweight.”

White didn’t voice an issue with Jones’ interest in fighting at heavyweight. In fact, White sounded supportive and indicated Jones could jump straight into a title fight. If Jones’ next fight is for the UFC heavyweight title, White said it’ll be after Francis Ngannou gets his rematch with Stipe Miocic.

“(Miocic vs. Ngannou) is definitely the fight that’s going to happen at heavyweight now,” White said. “Francis Ngannou had earned that title shot. Then we’ll see what happens. We had a matchmaking meeting today. A lot of the top four or five guys are laid out for fights coming up in the fall. We’ll see what Jon Jones’ timing is to come back and who makes sense for him.”

“… Listen, (Jones) is the longtime light heavyweight champion. In my opinion, he is the greatest of all time. If he wants to come back and take a shot at the heavyweight championship, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But he can’t jump in front of Francis Ngannou right now.”

Despite his recent public spat with the UFC, Jones is still White’s pick for the greatest fighter of all time.

“Well, I say it all the time,” White said. “He’s the GOAT. If you look at his career right now, he’s like 26-1. He’s 27-0. He’s never been beaten in the octagon. He’s fought the who’s who of the sport. He went through murderers’ row at 205 pounds and destroyed everybody. He’s the greatest of all time.”

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