Dana White Claims Francis Ngannou Wanted No Part of Jon Jones Fight, Says Aspinall Should Be Next for ‘Bones,’ and Comments on Ronda Rousey’s Rise and Fall

White covered a lot of topics, including Jones vs. Ngannou, Jones vs. Aspinall, and the downfall of Ronda Rousey in the UFC.

Dana White
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Dana White claims Francis Ngannou wanted no part of Jon Jones.

After more than a year of negotiating with the UFC, ‘The Predator’ parted ways with the promotion in early 2023, vacating his heavyweight title in the process and crushing any hopes that we would ever see him square off with ‘Bones’ inside the Octagon. 

Dana White and Co. reportedly offered him the biggest contract in heavyweight history, but it still wasn’t enough to keep the Cameroonian on the payroll. With his exit, the way was paved for Jon Jones to step back into the spotlight and snatch the vacated heavyweight crown with a quick two-minute submission victory over perennial contender Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. 

Despite laying much of the blame on Jones for the Ngannou fight falling through—claiming in 2021 that ‘Bones’ wanted an absurd $30 million to sign on the dotted line—White has since switched his story, suggesting that Ngannou never wanted to fight the consensus GOAT.

“He went through Ciryl Gane like that – easily,” White said on the Club Shay Shay podcast with Shannon Sharpe. “In my opinion, he does the same thing to Francis. One hundred percent. He does the same thing to Francis. Francis didn’t want to fight Jon Jones. Jon Jones is the scariest, most bad-ass fighter of all time. Jon Jones has his issues outside of the Octagon, which actually makes it more impressive if you think about the lifestyle that he was living, and doing this to the best fighters in the world.

“Jon Jones is one of those guys that won’t truly be appreciated until he’s gone. But I’m telling you right now, when you talk about who the baddest man on the planet is — two guys get locked in a room, who is walking out? It’s f*cking Jon Jones all day, every time.”

Jon Jones has not defended the heavyweight title since his first-round shellacking of ‘Bon Gamin’ in 2023, though that’s not entirely his fault. ‘Bones’ was scheduled to square off with former two-time titleholder Stipe Miocic in November, but a pectoral injury weeks ahead of fight night forced him out of the bout and into surgery.

Since then, the UFC has established an interim champion, Tom Aspinall, who captured the temporary title with a 69-second KO of Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295. Following the win, Aspinall lobbied for a unification clash with Jon Jones, but the former light heavyweight champ is sticking to his guns—he’s fighting Miocic and nobody else upon his return. 

White does agree with the fans that a fight with Aspinall should be on Jones’ itinerary, but only after he settles some business with Miocic.

“First of all, he has to fight Stipe,” White said. “That fight just has to happen. The next fight should be Aspinall. If Jon Jones beats Stipe, then Aspinall… He’s gonna come out and fight Stipe and the fact that he could fight Aspinall, it’s unbelievable. He will truly not be appreciated until he’s gone.”

Dana White Offers His Take on the Rise and Fall of Ronda Rousey

Dana White also took some time on the podcast to talk about the meteoric rise of the UFC’s inaugural bantamweight women’s world champion Ronda Rousey.
Rousey’s run inside the Octagon only lasted a brief four years, but there’s no doubt that she is one of the most influential figures in combat sports history. Earning 12 total victories—six in the UFC—she maintained a 100% finish rate with nine submissions and three knockouts. 
Sadly, as fast as Rousey rose, so too did she fall. Defending her title in the UFC 193 headliner in November 2015, ‘Rowdy’ suffered a brutal loss to Holly Holm after ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ hit her with a picture-perfect head kick in the opening minute of round two.
A year later, Rousey returned determined to redeem herself. Instead, she suffered another humiliating loss, being stopped by eventual two-division champion Amanda Nunes in 48 seconds.

And that was all she wrote. 
Offering his take on Rousey’s downfall, White believes that the Olympic bronze medalist had dedicated so much of herself to being the face of women’s MMA and growing the sport that it allowed other women to train hard and catch up with her inside the Octagon. 

“What happened with Ronda was — Ronda was very unique in that she came in and put this thing on the world stage,” White explained. “This thing being women fighting. She put it on the world stage at a level that nobody else could have done it. While she was doing what she was doing, building the sport and the UFC and women, all these other women were training to beat her.

“She had taken so much on her shoulders at the time, it was literally impossible for her to keep growing as a fighter during that period.”

Though she never officially retired from the sport, it was clear that Rousey was done. In the years since, she’s appeared in a handful of films and had a very successful run in the WWE where she became the first woman to headline WrestleMania alongside Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. 

“I was sad that I wouldn’t work with her on a daily basis like we did but I felt like the timing was right,” White said about Rousey’s exit from the UFC. “She had done everything she set out to do. Not just for her and her career but what she did for women in fighting in general.”

Published on June 20, 2024 at 2:08 pm
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