The UFC has attempted to put together a heavyweight championship rematch between recent title victor, Francis ‘The Predator’ Ngannou and fellow knockout ace, Derrick ‘The Black Beast’ Lewis for UFC 263 on June 12th. — as their ongoing dispute with former two-time light heavyweight kingpin, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones continues to rumble on.
Claiming the championship just last month in the main event of UFC 260, Cameroonian bruiser, Ngannou stopped two-time heavyweight gold holder, Stipe Miocic with a massive second-frame knockout, avenging a January 2018 loss to the Ohio native and finally assuming the heavyweight throne.
According to a report this afternoon from ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani, the promotion has explored the possibility of booking Ngannou vs. Lewis II for a June 12th. UFC 263 pay-per-view event, however, Ngannou has reportedly turned down that offer citing an issue with the timing surrounding the rather timely turnaround.
Per, Helwani, the UFC don’t appear to be willing to come to a sufficient financial agreement with the above-mentioned, Jones — who last week, tweeted that he had made it clear to the UFC’s Chief Business Officer, Hunter Campbell during a phone call, that a paycheck in the region of “eight to ten million” would be “way too low” for a fight of that “magnitude” with Ngannou.
Jones’ recent spat with the promotion comes off the back of an earlier series of tweets in which he claimed that he was obvious to see that UFC president, Dana White “hated” him — before requesting the organization allow him to take his business “elsewhere“.
Vacating his undisputed UFC light heavyweight championship in August last ahead of a long-speculated division leap, Jones had run into a prior fallout with the promotion and White, with the longtime president detailing how Jones was seeking “Deontay Wilder money” to clash with Ngannou in his heavyweight debut — a sum in the region of twenty-five to thirty million, a claim the Rochester native refuted.
Whilst Ngannou claimed the undisputed heavyweight championship with a massive stoppage of Miocic, New Orleans favourite, Lewis became tied for the most knockout wins in the history of the UFC back in February — stopping common-opponent, Curtis Blaydes with a monstrous second-round win.
As of writing, UFC 263 features just a single title fight, with flyweight standouts, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno set to run back their Fight of the Year contender at UFC 256 in December, in a bout which was judged a majority draw.