Just after Ngannou claimed the heavyweight title with a knockout win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260. Jones took to Twitter with a simple message that said “show me the money” as he started a public negotiation to make that fight happen. In the days since that message was posted, Jones has engaged in a war of words with UFC president Dana White, which culminated in a Twitter tirade on Monday including a request for his release from the promotion.
While that’s highly unlikely to happen, Ngannou understands why Jones is demanding more money because he knows the magnitude this fight will have on the UFC’s bottom line.
“I believe that Jon Jones wants this fight,” Ngannou told TMZ. “I believe he’ll want it to happen because it’s going to be a massive fight, mega fight. Basically one of the biggest, I mean he’s been around so long and he’s been champ for a very long time but I think this might be the biggest fight of his career, [same] in mine. So he wants that thing. He wants to put something like this on his legacy, on his resume. I truly believe he wants this fight to happen.
“As far as [negotiation], yeah, he’s asking for money, he said ‘show me the money’ but I think it makes sense. I think for a mega fight everyone would like to have mega pay, [same] as mine. I want that fight. I would like to have good pay and every other fighter out there would like that. There’s nothing irrational in this. Everything is normal. Everybody is expecting that we are doing this in order to one day have a big payday. A big fight day. When it comes that moment, you are like ‘I wish I had what I wanted.’ So I believe in it and I see ‘show the money’ for me, proof to me he really wants it or if you show the money, he’s going to fight.”
When it comes to the actual matchup, Ngannou obviously likes his chances against Jones but he’s not using his win against Miocic as a measuring stick for future success.
Instead, Ngannou recognizes the work that would need to be done in the gym to get ready for a fighter like Jones, who has never tasted a real defeat during his entire career.
“I cannot relate to the fight with Stipe to just take Jon Jones lightly because I defended one takedown from Stipe,” Ngannou explained. “Jon Jones might have a different approach, a different balance, different transitions. Those are the traps that I won’t let myself go into it.
“In this training camp, I’m going to be working on my wrestling, on my fighting ability because yes, this was a good performance, I had a good win Saturday night but when I look at that fight, there was still a ton of things in that fight, in that performance that can be fixed and get better.”
Of course, Ngannou can offer that same warning to Jones. Because for all the things he’s accomplished at 205 pounds, the former champion will be going up against a whole different kind of obstacle when challenging for the UFC heavyweight title.
“My message to Jon would be to get ready and to be serious, to put in serious work because he’s going to have the biggest challenge of his life,” Ngannou said. “I won’t be going there to play with him like those guys have been doing.
“It’s gonna feel different. He can put whatever weight he wants on him, that doesn’t take anything away from my strength or my power.”