The UFC’s new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, firmly has his sights set on Jon Jones for his first title defence.
‘The Predator’ defeated Stipe Miocic, a man considered by many to be the GOAT of heavyweight MMA, at UFC 260 via second-round KO. Ngannou displayed significant improvements in his game compared to their original fight back in 2018. He successfully defended Stipe’s attempts to bring the fight to the mat and even landed his own takedown. However, the most decisive factor that led to his victory was the self-control he held in the octagon, especially in comparison to his previous fights.
Calmness was Key
Speaking at the UFC 260 post-fight presser, Ngannou revealed the following:
“The goal, the game plan was to be relaxed, not to rush at all, calm down. Because my team, they know that’s the moment that I have the best of myself when I’m relaxed. I’m not rushing to cut [off] someone’s head” (transcribed via MMAFighting)
Naturally, with both men now holding a win over the other, questions were raised as to whether Ngannou would look to complete the trilogy with Miocic. He stated the following:
“Personally, no, I don’t feel I need [to fight Stipe again]. He said I won’t be a champion until he’s retired so maybe he’ll retire but if not, I’ll still be down to fight him. I have a loss against him and his time as the greatest heavyweight of all time. He makes sense for me to fight if needed.”
It may well be that Ngannou has another opponent in mind.
Jon ‘Bones’ Jones
Jon Jones’ move up to heavyweight has been a much talked about piece of MMA news over the past year, although the former light heavyweight champ is yet to fight in this new division. Francis Ngannou confirmed that he would be more than happy to welcome ‘Bones’ to the UFC’s biggest weight class.
“Well, I think Jon Jones makes more sense for me but either way, I’m going to fight,” Ngannou said. “If Jon Jones doesn’t come to heavyweight, the division has to move. As the new heavyweight champion, I decided to move on, put more activity in the division than [Stipe] has been in the past two or three years.
“I might be the champ but I don’t make the call. I’m just a fighter. So the UFC decides what really happens. But for what I want or what I like, yes, I would like that [fight with Jon Jones].”
Whilst there has been no confirmation from UFC President Dana White yet, it is likely that a super-fight between the two will be the UFC’s next step. Ngannou’s power has always been next to legendary, but in the Stipe fight, he displayed a level of intelligence and fight awareness that was not previously present. Alternatively, Jones is considered one of, if not the, greatest MMA fighters of all time. A matchup between the two would be one of the biggest draws in UFC history, no doubt.