After hearing a small portion of Jones’ tweetstorm on Saturday night after Ngannou’s knockout win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, White indicated the ball is in the former light heavyweight champ’s court. If “Bones” doesn’t want the fight, plenty of others do.
“Derrick Lewis is the fight to make, but if Jon Jones really wants that fight, and listen, it’s one thing to go out and tweet and say you want it, and I put on the weight and this and that – do you want the fight?” White asked at the post-fight press conference. “I promise you we can call Derrick Lewis or one of these other heavyweights and they want the fight.
“If Jon Jones really wants the fight, Jon Jones knows he can get the fight. All he’s got to do is call and do it. It’s easy to say you want the fight, but if you really want the fight, Francis Ngannou is the heavyweight champion of the world right now. All he’s got to do is pick up the phone and call [UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell] and we can get the deal done.”
White was reacting to a tweet sent by Jones as the UFC 260 press conference took place. “Bones” scoffed at the idea that he would move down to the middleweight division – two divisions lower than the one he’s been preparing to fight in for several months – because he was afraid of Ngannou.
“Go to 185? I didn’t gain all this weight for no reason,” Jones wrote, adding a laughing emoji.
“I like it,” White replied and then looked at cameras. “That sounds serious then, Jon. Call Hunter right now. We can make that fight tonight. Call Hunter right now.”
Jones made it clear after watching Ngannou that wanting the fight isn’t the issue – his paycheck is. The ex-champ, who relinquished his title this past year after feuding over money with White and Co. on a potential superfight with Ngannou, appeared to retake the stance that put him on the outs with the promotion in the first place, citing UFC star Conor McGregor to illustrate a double standard over financial demands.
“What a great way to promote the fight,” Jones wrote on Instagram. “Let’s just sh*t on Jon Jones and make him seem afraid. How dare he ask to get paid serious money for a serious fight.”
Jones was widely expected to meet the winner of UFC 260’s headliner. But almost from the moment White was asked about the fight at the press conference for Saturday’s event, the UFC exec indicated Jones didn’t want the matchup.
“If I’m Jon Jones and I’m home watching this fight, I start moving to ,” White said with a laugh.
White said he wanted to make the fight between Ngannou and Jones. But hearing that Jones had tweeted “show me the money” sent him a message that the ex-champ’s interest wasn’t strong enough to take the promotion’s offer.
“Listen, I can sit here all day and tell you, what’s show me the money mean? I tell you guys this all the time,” White said. “You can say you want to fight somebody, but do you really want to?”
Lewis, who this past month knocked out Curtis Blaydes, recently said he wants a rematch with Ngannou, whom he defeated in a highly lackluster fight at UFC 226. But he added he needs to renegotiate his contract with the promotion before moving forward.