Jon Jones discussed Francis Ngannou parting ways with the UFC before they could fight.
On March 4, Jones looks to further his legacy by becoming the UFC heavyweight world champion. ‘Bones’ will be taking on Ciryl Gane, but that wasn’t the original plan. The former light heavyweight king was supposed to fight Ngannou in a highly-anticipated matchup. ‘The Predator’ ended up not re-signing with the promotion, leading to the UFC 285 main event for the vacant heavyweight title.
During an interview with RMC Sport, Jones was asked about him or Gane potentially being criticized as the heavyweight champion without beating Ngannou. ‘Bones’ responded by saying:
“I don’t think I deserve any criticism. I’m here. Francis had the opportunity to face me, and he opted out of the opportunity. If anyone should be criticized, it’s Francis Ngannou. If I’m correct, he was offered the biggest contract in heavyweight history. He had the opportunity to be the guy to dethrone me, and he didn’t believe in himself.”
Jones continued by saying:
“Francis didn’t believe in himself. He wasn’t willing to gamble on himself. I felt bad for the fans. I know that would have been a massive fight for the fans all around the world [who] would’ve loved to see that.”
Watch RMC Sport’s interview with Jon Jones below:
Jon Jones thinks the Francis Ngannou matchup is still possible
Francis Ngannou left the UFC with plans to earn big paydays in professional boxing. He’s been eyeing a potential matchup against Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, but nothing is confirmed. ‘The Predator’ also isn’t ruling out any future plans, including a return to the UFC. During the same interview with RMC Sports, Jon Jones had this to say about the possibility of fighting ‘The Predator’:
“I’m not counting it out. I could see Francis going and fighting in boxing and doing whatever he’s gonna do, and I think he’s always gonna be welcomed back to the UFC. That’s always gonna be a big big fight, and I’ll be ready for him.”
Although a fight against Ngannou would be massive, Jones is locked in on his upcoming opponent. Cyril Gane is a former interim heavyweight champion with the athleticism to give ‘Bones’ problems at UFC 285. With that said, the former light heavyweight king has overcome adversity in the past, and he plans to do the same in his new weight class.