Francis Ngannou says potential Jon Jones fight 'probably will never happen'
Former UFC heavyweight champion and current free agent, Francis Ngannou, expressed surprise at Jon Jones’ recent performance in his heavyweight debut. However, Ngannou believes that a matchup against the new heavyweight champ is unlikely to ever happen.
Ngannou was last seen in the UFC’s octagon at UFC 270, where he defeated Jones’ UFC 285 opponent, former interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. After an extensive recovery from knee surgery and failed contract negotiations with the UFC, Ngannou walked away from the promotion and, by extension, away from a potentially massive fight against Jones.
In the main event of UFC 285, Jones finally made his long-awaited heavyweight debut, fighting Gane for the vacant heavyweight title. Ngannou was not surprised by the fight's result, but certainly did not expect such a quick finish.
“I knew that if Jon Jones shows up in a good space mentally, not like his last two fights, he’s going to prevail in this fight, but I didn’t see this fight going this short,” Ngannou said on his YouTube channel. “I was surprised, though. I was surprised the way that the fight ended.”
When Ngannou fought Gane, he used an effective wrestling attack despite having torn ligaments in his knee. That led Ngannou to believe that Jones would also have no problem getting the fight to the mat. However, Ngannou did perceive Jones’ approach in a different light.
“Not very surprising, because I knew that if I could out-wrestle Ciryl, Jon would be another story. He would have a hard night if Jon could lay in on him, but what I did notice is that Jon was rushing. Jon didn’t want to give him space, because I think he was afraid of something,” Ngannou said.
Jones is now the official UFC heavyweight champion, but some believe the title of “undisputed” is inappropriate because Ngannou never lost the title in the cage. However, UFC president Dana White has made it clear that negotiations with Ngannou are completely over, and he will “never” fight in the UFC again. White also claimed that Ngannou “didn’t want the fight” against Jones, but Ngannou has a different perspective.
“Fun fight, a fight I’d like to have but unfortunately, we are not there,” Ngannou said about fighting Jones. “That fight didn’t happen, and probably will never happen now that he’s on a long, very long contract with the UFC. So, that’s not happening anymore.”
In conclusion, Francis Ngannou was not surprised by Jon Jones’ successful heavyweight debut but believes that a matchup against the new champ is unlikely to ever happen. Regardless, the heavyweight division continues to be one of the most exciting in the UFC, and fans eagerly await the next big fight.