Exclusive: Chris Barnett Picks Jon Jones Over Francis Ngannou: ‘What Do You Do Against The Perfect Fighter?’

Barnett breaks down the potential fight between Jones & Ngannou.

Jones Ngannou 2022
(via @jonnybones, @francisngannou - Instagram)

Chris Barnett is backing Jon Jones to beat Francis Ngannou. 

Of course, the fight has to be booked first for that to happen. The UFC fan-favorite feels like he’s been waiting ages for the return of Jones, but it looks as though it will be sooner rather than later. Jones is targeted to make his heavyweight debut at UFC 285, regardless of whether the champ Ngannou is ready or not. 

Barnett Calls Jones ‘The Perfect Fighter’

While the fight is still far from official, Barnett would break down the looming matchup in an interview with Middle Easy.

“I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m so sick of this,” Barnett said of the potential Jones-Ngannou fight. “I’ve been hearing Jon Jones is going to fight for the past five years [laughs]. I love Jon, don’t get me wrong… Big fan of both of them. I’ve got pictures with both of them. I’ve actually helped Jones for the DC [fight] and when he fought Ovince Saint Preux.

“Jones is a tactical, smart fighter, extremely tactical and like extremely smart. You put that first, right? And then you’ve got all these God-given gifts that just come there and it’s like, what do you do? Like, what do you do against the perfect fighter? Literally, you have to let him be himself.”

Barnett: Jones Will Keep Ngannou On Defense

Ngannou has been sidelined for quite some time now with a knee injury. The heavyweight kingpin barely overcame it in his fight with Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. Ngannou has been working on his recovery ever since. 

‘The Predator’ is known for his explosive knockout power which has left a trail of bodies in his rise, but his fellow UFC Heavyweight believes Jones will put him on defense and will target the champ’s knee as though it was Achilles’ heel.

“That knee injury for a big guy like that is serious,” Barnett said of Ngannou. “I’ve seen the scarring like, and I was like, ugh, that looks yucky. And Jones again isn’t dumb. I’m not calling him Ngannou dumb, but we know in Ngannou’s tactic is gonna be forward, forward. I don’t think he’s gonna be able to wrestle Jones the way he was able to wrestle Ciryl Gane because he wasn’t even expecting it. Like no one was expecting Ngannou to be able to wrestle that way.

“Jones is a wrestler and then he’s been working with Henry Cejudo, and then he’s already got the striking that we know. I’m worried he’s gonna do what he did to Rampage as far as that knee and take out all that power in that knee. So, Ngannou’s gonna be forced to go back on a defensive-type fighting style if Jones gets that knee early, you know? I’ve never seen Ngannou be defensive. Like he’s either in the middle of the ring or your back is on the cage type thing. One of those two.”

Barnett Says Jones Tossed Him Like A Lightweight

Barnett would further praise ‘Bones’, citing his brain and brawn. 

“With Jones, I’ve seen him circle around, do this technical. He had Machida against the cage with his back on the cage and just dropped him. I know Jones is all around— ground, stand-up, tactics, everything. He makes it to the fight. I don’t see him losing. That’s the thing, strength wise, this is Jones at 205 when I went out there to, to help him. I was like three [hundred] something and this dude tossed me like I was like a 155er off the fence, just with leverage and like him knowing his body, him knowing the angles, he’s a master of it. He’s not a practitioner, he’s a master of it. I’m sure he won’t say that, but the way he studies, the way he breaks down stuff, it got to the point to where he got bored because he was so [good].”

‘I’ll Give The Edge To Jones’

‘Beast Boy’ thinks the former light heavyweight champ will have a lot more in the tank when it comes to cardio, because he’s coming up from 205. With this and everything else said, Barnett has got to give the edge to Jones. 

“Cardio wise, I’m sure he’s doing the right things to build up the cardio with the muscle and everything, but that is gonna be different. Fighting live is a little different with all that weight on you. But even then,  I gotta edge it with Jones just because of that mindset. He’s going out there, he has it set in his head. Like, this guy’s trying to give me a concussion. I don’t care if I break his knee. I think he word-for-word said that with like the whole rampage thing.

“So it’s like he doesn’t care at the end. He’s gonna go home and be like, ‘dang, I messed that man’s knee up but I got that check though!’ I’ll give the edge to Jones in that one. Ngannou first round is dangerous, but if it goes past that first— I said that with Ciryl Gane too, though. I need to be careful doubting Ngannou. But with Jones it’s a little different with that wrestling background. I gotta give it to Jones.”

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