Dana White seems intent on Francis “Predator” Ngannou (16-3) vs. Derrick “Black Beast” Lewis (25-7) for the Cameroonian heavyweight champion of the world’s first title defense. The UFC president has targeted UFC 265 in Austin, Texas for a possible bout.
But these reports haven’t stopped Francis Ngannou from hankering for a dream fight at heavyweight with the all-but-undefeated light-heavyweight GOAT, John “Bones” Jones (26-1/ 1 NC).
What has Ngannou said about a John Jones super fight?
“I want Jon Jones. Oh, definitely. I don’t care about what the talks say. I would love that fight – love that fight.”
Ngannou was then asked about Jon Jones’ new-look heavyweight physique. The baddest man alive was dismissive of Bones’ extra padding but did concede he was a skilled athlete when answering:
“I have some size, too. I’m strong, too,” Ngannou said. “I’m impressed. I know he’s very skilled, very talented, but we are both men.”
Unsurprisingly, Ngannou also feels he’d be able to get the job done inside the Octagon against Jones. When asked whether or not the fight would end in a KO and in what round, he responded:
“Absolutely. “(The round) doesn’t matter.”
The words don’t lie. It’s evident that the Cameroonian champion clearly has his heart set on a clash with arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
But is this a fight that’s likely to come to fruition? Will we ever see Bones vs Predator?
What has Jon Jones said about a possible clash with Ngannou?
If the Ngannou fight never happens, it would be unfair to lay all the blame at John Jones‘ door.
Perhaps enticed by the prospect of becoming only the eighth UFC fighter to have held two belts in separate weight classes, Bones certainly hasn’t shied away from calling out the heavyweight champion on social media.
In fact, the pair have been engaged in a lively back-and-forth on Twitter in recent months. In a tweet sent in early May, Jones had this to say in response to Ngannou calling him out:
“Pray you knock me out because if you don’t I’m going to break you, and that’s a promise.”
The verbal jousting continued. Ngannou was quick to respond to the jab when he tweeted:
“You’re a decision fighter @JonnyBones and you’ve barely won a fight lately. But you’re going to break me out?”
It’s easy to ascertain from the to-and-fro that Jones is anything but scared of a potential match-up with Francis Ngannou.
Unfortunately, the war-of-words on Twitter is about where it ends for the two UFC stars, at least for the moment:
Regarding the potential Ngannou bout, Jones’ later demands for an increased fight purse didn’t go down too well with UFC boss Dana White…
Is It the End of the Road for Dana White and John Jones?
In fairness to Dana White, he has stood by John Jones through some crazy incidents in the past: the drugs scandals, the hit and runs… White has always had John Jones’ back.
But the UFC president’s response to Jones’ demands for better pay spoke volumes. White originally told the 6-1 star that he was “free to never fight again.”
A few days later, in an interview with TMZ Sports, Dana White was asked if he’d moved on from Jones all together. White’s answer was clear:
“Yeah, I’ve absolutely moved on. Listen, I put on fights every Saturday. We have a window where we try to build some fights and make some things happen. If the fights don’t happen within that window, we move on.”
The UFC President did pay his respects to the legacy of Bones. But wouldn’t stop short of suggesting it might be time for the certainly the best light heavyweight of all time to retire:
“For those people that don’t know, you see that one loss on his record, he didn’t lose that fight he won that fight in dominant fashion like most of his fights.
“It was a time when the Nevada Athletic Commission was at its weakest and there was a referee that shouldn’t have been in there and he stole that fight from Jon Jones.
So, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for him to go out on top.”
Things then took a further turn for the worse when Dana White criticized the former light-heavyweight champion’s pay demands in an interview with ESPN towards the back end of May.
When asked about the potential for a Jones vs. Ngannou fight in the Octagon, White said:
“For the amount of money he’s asking for, it’s not going to happen,” White said. “He couldn’t be asking for a more absurd amount of money at a worse time.”
“I’ll quote him on what he said, and he said I want what Deontay Wilder made against Tyson Fury,”
These comments did not go down well with Jones, who took to social media to retaliate in a series of tweets:
“Don’t be a f***ing liar, my reputation has already taken enough hits. I don’t need this bull**** Dana. I never asked for Diante (sic) Wilder’s numbers. And how about since Diante (sic) is making 30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I’m the GOAT and everything.
“I don’t even make half of what Diante (sic) Wilder makes. If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my @UFC contract altogether. I’m sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up.”
Unfortunately, the Dana White/ John Jones relationship appears soured, at the very best.
Jones vs Ngannou and the former’s request for a better pay packet is a divisive subject. Some will believe that Dana White is right to stand his ground on Jones’ pay: it’s not like the former lightweight champion has made his boss’s life easy over the years!
As great as he is, there’s a valid argument that Jones’ actions outside the Octagon (and the doping scandals inside) don’t exactly equate to a pay rise.
Then, there will be others still who definitely do think that UFC stars should be earning fight-purses comparable to that of the big names in the boxing world. And there’s an argument to be made there, too.
But, regardless of whose side you are on in this back and forth between two beloved members of the UFC organization, one man who seems destined to miss out is Francis Ngannou. The Cameroonian power puncher’s dream bout with Jon Jones hangs in tatters and, at this stage, it’s going to take some serious TLC and several million dollars to fix the situation.
Fingers crossed that Dana White and John Jones can come to an amicable solution for both parties that gets Bones back inside the Octagon.
For the time being at least though, it looks like Francis Ngannou will have to do things the regular way and strike down the black beast before he gets to pick apart the bones.