Francis Ngannou’s Head Coach Pleads with UFC and PFL to Book Jon Jones Fight: ‘Set Your Ego Aside and Make It Happen’

Nicksick believes Dana White needs to put his ego aside and work with the PFL to co-promote Ngannou vs. Jones

Francis Ngannou
Courtesy of @sportskeedaMMA on X

When Francis Ngannou walked away from the UFC, it seemed that all hope of seeing him square off with Jon Jones was lost. 

However, Ngannou’s coach, Eric Nicksick is not giving up hope just yet. Following Ngannou’s critically acclaimed professional boxing debut against Tyson Fury, ‘The Predator’ is seemingly one of the most in-demand fighters in combat sports. The PFL is chomping at the bit to capitalize on their investment by getting Ngannou inside the Smart Cage as soon as possible. But the question remains, who will he fight?

“In a perfect world, for me, I still want that Jon Jones fight,” Nicksick told Ariel Helwani on the Wednesday edition of The MMA Hour. “Hell yeah, I do. Just because I want to compete against the best and I think Jon is the best. I don’t want any more guesses about who is the baddest man on the planet. Let’s run it. Let’s do it.”

Nicksick 100 percent believes that the long-fabled fight between the former and current UFC heavyweight world champions can happen, but it’s going to require a lot of work to be done behind the scenes, specifically with UFC CEO Dana White and PFL founder Donn Davis. 

“You can make that happen,” Nicksick said. “Both sides can make that happen if they really wanted to. Set your egos aside, let’s get Allegiant Stadium [in Las Vegas], let’s give what the fans want, and let’s get Jon and Francis, and let’s see who the baddest man on the planet is.

“I want to compete against the best. I’ve said that time and time again. It’s no disrespect to Jon. I think he’s the best to ever do it, but I want that opportunity to coach against him and I want that opportunity to go beat the guy.”


After nearly two years of negotiations with Francis Ngannou, the UFC officially threw in the towel in January, opting to release ‘The Predator’ and book Jon Jones to finally make his heavyweight debut. 

Nicksick believes the UFC should want to get something out of letting Ngannou go, suggesting that the promotion can still salvage something from all of their wasted efforts if they are willing to work with the Professional Fighters League and make the biggest fight MMA history a reality. 

“I look at it like this — if you have [Shohei] Ohtani and let him walk for free, you don’t get anything out of it,” Nicksick explained. “They didn’t get anything back from letting the baddest man on the planet walk away. Nothing. They didn’t go on and put on a superfight. They didn’t do anything. They just let him walk for free. I think now can kind of right that wrong and give yourself the opportunity and cross-promote. Do a PFL-UFC and let’s put the baddest man on the planet up against the other one. Let’s figure it out. Let’s do it at Allegiant Stadium, let’s sell the place out. Let’s sell all these pay-per-view buys.

“Everybody wins at the end of the day. Everybody wins. The fans win. The fighters win. The promoters win. Possibly even the UFC because look at this way, Francis obviously is kind of making them eat their words. He walked away for free and he’s going out and doing his thing. At the end of the day, that’s what we wanted. We wanted to box and do it under the Zuffa banner and co-promote. I think anything’s possible.”

Can UFC CEO Dana White Put His Ego Aside to Make Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones a Reality? 

The biggest obstacle to making that happen is Dana White. Aside from already exclaiming that Francis Ngannou will never compete inside the Octagon again, White has not been known to play well with others, particularly other combat sports organizations. 

And to be fair, the UFC has little to gain from co-promoting with a smaller organization. It would only serve to give their competition some much-needed exposure, not to mention the humiliation they’ll suffer if Jon Jones gets planted six feet under the canvas.  

Still, we can’t help but wonder if the almighty dollar would be enough for White to overlook the negatives and help make the fight that everyone wants to see. 

“I think Dana [White] and the UFC are smart businessmen,” Nicksick said. “If the business is right, the logistics are right, I think you set your ego aside and just make it happen.”

Watch the full interview below:
Transcription by MMA Fighting
Published on November 1, 2023 at 10:25 pm
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