UFC: Coach Winkeljohn Says Jones Is ‘Serious About Vacating The Belt’
In the past week, UFC president Dana White and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, have been going back and forth in interviews and on social media, over negotiations for ‘Bones’ to fight Francis Ngannou at heavyweight.
Jones at one point suggested he would hang up his gloves and has more recently stated that he’s going to vacate his UFC light heavyweight title.
Speaking to BJPenn.com, Jones’ coach Mike Winkeljohn revealed that his man is actually serious about vacating the belt and wouldn’t mind some time off from the sport, if he is not paid according to his wish.
“I think Jon is serious,” Winkeljohn said. “He is really happy right now. 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.”
The whole situation started when Jones expressed his wish to move up to heavyweight to face Ngannou. Dana then reported to the media that the 32 year old was asking for ‘Deontay Wilder money’. Winkeljohn however, believes that Jon deserves the money he is asking for.
“I know Jon sees what the boxers are making. I have to give great props to Dana White and the UFC for what they’ve done. They have given us jobs so that is a fantastic thing. But, they do have a monopoly so they have control of what they pay. But, when you are the best at what you do, you should get the money,” he said. “I want Jon to get more money because I care about Jon. In my heart, I think Jon will sit out for a while. The fans will miss the best of all-time and he’ll get back in there and fight again. I’m hoping the UFC sees his value and gives him some money.”
The JacksonWink MMA coach said that he spoke to Jones over the weekend, who told him that he’s serious about vacating his belt.
“I had a conversation on Sunday with Jon and he is serious about vacating the belt and walking away,” Winkeljohn said. “He told me he has no problem sitting out and not fighting and just hanging out with his girls.”
Even though Winkeljohn believes that Jones may take a break, he thinks it would be a surprise if the champion never returned to the Octagon again.
“I would be surprised because Jon is a fighter. Deep down he wants to challenge himself. So, I would be surprised if we didn’t see him fight again,” he explained. “The UFC also knows they need Jon back.”
As of now, the coach is hopeful that the two ‘alphas’ will work something out and the fans can get to watch Jones fight again.
“I have no idea what the realistic scenario is. It comes down to Jon and Dana and those are alphas. They will come to a deal. It may take some time but they will meet and it will work out for both parties,” Winkeljohn concluded. “The UFC and Jon will both sit down and look at their numbers and time will tell.”
Like Jones, Dana has made it clear that he is going to stand his ground. In a statement to Vancouver Courier, the UFC boss said that Jon has already done a lot for the sport and also made enough money to walk away from the fight game forever.
“Jon Jones is one of the greatest to ever do it. The decision he wants to make regarding his career is up to him. The reality is that he’s made enough money from fighting that he’s now in the position to retire and never work again in his life.”
Do you think Jon Jones’ beef with Dana White will be resolved any time soon?