The UFC confirmed over the weekend that UFC 253, featuring a middleweight title fight between champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa, would take place on Sept. 26, though a location has not yet been announced.
The UFC 253 fight card could get a very interesting addition after light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones on Monday announced that he has vacated his title. Jones appears ready to move to heavyweight, but is at odds with the UFC over his contract. He said that he is willing to sit out unless that issue is resolved.
“Just got off the phone with (the UFC), today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs,” Jones wrote.
“The last I spoke with (the UFC) about my salary there was no negotiating. If that ever changes, 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.”
In the meantime, the UFC is working to match Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz for UFC 253, as initially reported by ESPN‘s Brett Okamoto. While that would have likely been a pairing to determine Jones’s next challenger, it now looks like the bout could determine Jones’s successor.
Reyes (12-1) has only one blemish on his record, that being a unanimous-decision loss to Jones at UFC 247 earlier this year. UFC president Dana White had intended for Reyes to get an immediate rematch, but with Jones stepping aside, it would only make sense that Reyes vs. Blachowicz would determine the new UFC light heavyweight champion.
Blachowicz (26-8) has won seven of his last eight bouts, including consecutive wins over Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Corey Anderson in his three most recent bouts.