It all started after “Bones” vacated the light heavyweight throne to gain extra pounds to prepare for a highly-anticipated heavyweight debut. With Ngannou crowned new champion via a second-round knockout over Stipe Miocic this past weekend, Jones took on social media to indicate he’s down — for the right price.
Rakic, who hopes to get the next shot at 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz after wins over Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith, believes Ngannou-Jones would be “very good for the UFC” and Jones should be compensated fairly for it.
“Jon did everything,” Rakic said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Everything he did in the octagon, defend the title 13 times in the light heavyweight when nobody did this in the light heavyweight, man. He’s unbeaten. I understand him completely.
“If I look back, if Conor McGregor can get like more money or Khabib [Nurmagomedov] can get more money, why he cannot get more money? It’s a different weight class, it’s the heavyweight division, it’s not the light heavyweight division, and he’s fighting Francis, a scary guy. Of course, I would ask the same, you know, and I understand him completely.”
Jones has defeated some of the best light heavyweights in the world over the past decade as UFC champion, but fans wonder how he would look as a heavyweight, especially if paired up against a “scary guy” like Ngannou.
“Jon is a very smart fighter and his fight IQ is very good,” Rakic said. “He’s gonna probably study Francis for a long time now and when the fight happens, you’re gonna see Jon use everything, every weakness that Francis has, Jones is gonna do it. I don’t know how he gonna feel in the heavyweight division, I saw he put some weight on, he’s like 114kg. You need to move [at] this weight, you know, and if you never fought this it needs time to get used to this weight, to move with this weight, to spar with, to hit mitts, and to have that conditioning for five rounds.
“I think this match-up would be very interesting because Francis is a monster, he’s a champion, and he knocked out Stipe. It’s a crazy power that this man has, and, in the other way, Jon is a very smart fighter, so it’s gonna be very interesting. I think if the fight goes to distance, I see Jon winning that fight, but, like we saw last weekend, one jab or one left hand from Francis and the lights are out. I see this fight like 50-50.”
Rakic has never fought as a heavyweight either in both MMA or kickboxing, but would “absolutely” jump a weight class in the future.
“I have still business to do in the light heavyweight division,” he said. “And after I became the champion in the light heavyweight division, of course I’m gonna move to the heavyweight division because I am a natural heavyweight. I’m tall, I have the reach, and I think when I move to the heavyweight division, I’m gonna be probably one of the fastest and the best movements in the heavyweight division. Just the training, how I train, how I hit mitts, how I grappler and wrestle. I used to move like like like a middleweight, like a welterweight. So it’s going to be a big advantage for me.”