Francis Ngannou Blames UFC for Holding Up Jon Jones Fight, Believes It Could Still Happen

"The Predator' believes a cross-promotional bout between himself and Jon Jones is possible, but the ball is entirely in the UFC's court to make it happen

Francis Ngannou
Courtesy of @SInow on Twitter

Francis Ngannou believes a potential heavyweight superfight with Jon Jones is still possible despite fighting under two separate banners.

Fans have been clamoring for a heavyweight clash between Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones for years. And for a while, it seemed like we were finally going to see it happen. Sadly, that day never came as the UFC opted to move on from Ngannou after nearly two years of failed negotiations. His exit from the Las Vegas-based promotion prompted Jon Jones to step back into the spotlight, claiming the heavyweight crown that once sat atop Ngannou’s head. 

With Ngannou announcing a ground-breaking deal with the Professional Fighters League, all hope seemed lost in regards to seeing the two combat sports icons square off inside a cage, whether it be Smart or Octagon-shaped. 

However, talks of the long-teased superfight have started to ramp up again thanks to a recent face-off between ‘Bones’ and Ngannou during a PFL event earlier this month. Detailing the interaction with TMZ Sports, Ngannou acknowledged that there is an incredible amount of respect between the two stars, but there’s always the desire to find out who truly is the baddest man on the planet. 

“It was very exciting. The energy was there. It’s been three years that we’ve been talking about this fight and to get to meet each other in person,” Ngannou said. “Even though the fight is far from happening, it’s possible that it can happen. We respect each other as athletes. We have this rivalry. Everybody wants to know who is the biggest dog in the room, but we do respect each other. He’s good.”

As to whether or not we could ever actually see a matchup between the two heavyweight behemoths, Ngannou said it’s still possible but believes it’s entirely up to the UFC, as every other party has already confirmed interest in making the fight happen. 

“I think the UFC has to figure it out and get to a point where stuff can be done with cross-promotion in order to give the fans what they want and make this fight happen,” Ngannou continued.”And as soon as they get that. As soon as they decide to give that to the fans, everything will be okay because all the parties are down for the fight except one.”

Francis Ngannou Was Less Than Impressed with Jon Jones’ Heavyweight Debut

Finally getting the opportunity to stand next to the new UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou was admittedly underwhelmed by Jones’ increased size. He suggested ‘Bones’ was always a heavyweight and simply cut a fair amount of weight to make the 205-pound limit. Ngannou also shared his assessment of Jones’ two-minute submission victory over heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane in March. 

“I think Jon Jones has always been a heavyweight because he has to cut a lot of weight to go down to light heavyweight. I think him getting on some size… I don’t know what was the dilemma, but for me, I would say I am more comfortable with a heavy Jon Jones than the Jon Jones at light heavyweight,’ Ngannou continued.

“He gave an impressive performance against Ciryl Gane, but for the first minute, the first interaction in striking, he didn’t look good. It was kind of… He wasn’t on point or as sharp as [he is] at light heavyweight. For me, that’s the best. I want Jones heavy. I want him heavier if he can put on even more size.”

Offering up a prediction for the potential clash, Ngannou said:

“If the two of us ever get into a fight, I think he’s gonna experience something that he never does. I know he’s been training with a lot of heavyweights, but I’m kind of like heavy heavyweight, something that’s very difficult [to deal with].”

Ngannou is slated for a return to mixed martial arts in 2024 under the PFL banner, though no official date or opponent has been announced. In the meantime, ‘The Predator’ will look to try his hand inside the squared circle. Ngannou has been looking to land a high-profile boxing match with a name like Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, or Anthony Joshua. Recently, British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn suggested that a fight between Ngannou and Derek Chisora could be booked for a December event in Saudi Arabia. 

“The goal, you know what it is. It’s a knockout,” Ngannou said of a fight with Jon Jones. “Obviously, if I have something else, I’ll keep fighting. If I have something else, I will take it, but the goal is to knock him out. Make him feel that power.”

Published on June 23, 2023 at 4:51 pm
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