Mixed martial arts: Jon Jones officially vacates UFC light heavyweight title, eyes heavyweight run or retirement

Jon Jones has officially vacated the UFC light heavyweight title as he eyes more money and a change in weight class.

The 33-year-old has been linked to a heavyweight title run for years, but has resisted the move to focus on cementing his legacy as the greatest light heavyweight of all time.

Recently Jones seemed headed for a heavyweight showdown with the hulking Cameroonian striker Francis Ngannou, but he couldn't come to terms with the UFC on his fight purse.

Jones has sighted a lack of fresh contenders as a motivation to continue fighting in the weight class he has dominated for more than a decade, and has even hinted at retirement.

On Tuesday, the New York native announced he is done with the light heavyweight division and would only consider an Octagon return at heavyweight, if the UFC renegotiates his contract. 

"Just got off the phone with @ufc, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship,” Jones wrote on Twitter. 

"It’s officially up for grabs. It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, UFC and most importantly you fans."

Jones' last fight was in February when he narrowly defeated rising challenger Dominick Reyes in a controversial decision victory, in the closest fight of his 12-year UFC career.

But that is now likely to be his final fight at 205 pounds, and it appears Jones' decision was made up before Tuesday.

Following Stipe Miocic's heavyweight title defence against Jones' long-time rival Daniel Cormier at UFC 252, 'Bones' made his intentions very clear.

"Avoid Stipe’s right hand, I’m too fast, I’ll be too strong when the time is right and have way too much energy. Soon and very soon I’ll be considered the baddest man on this planet," Jones wrote on Twitter.

But if the UFC can't agree on the worth of the man regarded by most as the greatest combat sports athletes in history, Jones is happy to watch on from a distance. 

"I’d love to come back and compete again as a heavyweight. Until then, I’ll be enjoying UFC as a fan and doing my best to take care of my family and community."

Jones said he will remain in the USADA doping testing pool for the next six months in a sign of "good faith" to the UFC.