There have been talks about if Francis Ngannou will have the first defense of his heavyweight crown against Jon Jones or Derrick Lewis. It seems that he has already turned down one offer for the latter of these two.
Heading into the title rematch between Stipe Miocic and Ngannou, there was an expectation that Francis had improved from their last fight, but nobody could have expected just how much. He completely outclassed the then-champ, before scoring the second round knockout to snatch the crown.
Following this fight, the immediate reaction was that former 205lb champ Jon Jones would be next in line for the title shot. However with struggling negotiations, the UFC has also been considering booking Francis in another rematch, against his only other UFC loss in Derrick Lewis.
Francis Ngannou Declined Derrick Lewis Fight
Francis Ngannou himself has said that he prefers the fight with Jon Jones, but would be open to facing Derrick Lewis if that bout did not come together. However it seems that he has turned down an offer for that rematch to happen.
According to reports, the UFC offered Francis the Lewis fight for a card this June, but he declined the bout. However this was apparently not due to him holding out for Jones, but instead because the timing just did not line up right for him.
“UFC has kicked the tires on Francis Ngannou x Derrick Lewis on June 12, sources say. However the timing doesn’t work for Ngannou (and I don’t blame him; he just won the belt).
Bigger story here, IMO, is, at least for now, they don’t seem keen on waiting around for Jones.
Since 6/12, at least for now, doesn’t viable, do they revisit Jones? Maybe. But Lewis is ready, willing and able.
Wouldn’t be surprised if they just try to book that rematch for sometime later in the summer/fall. Doesn’t look like they are willing to meet Jones’ price right now.”
Since 6/12, at least for now, doesn’t viable, do they revisit Jones? Maybe. But Lewis is ready, willing and able. Wouldn’t be surprised if they just try to book that rematch for sometime later in the summer/fall. Doesn’t look like they are willing to meet Jones’ price right now.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 5, 2021
As Ariel Helwani notes, it seems that the UFC is not willing to meet Jon Jones’s demands for a fight with Francis Ngannou. Time will tell if this changes but if it does not, we are almost certainly looking at a second fight between he and Derrick Lewis.