Michael Chiesa is ready to see one of the great super fights in UFC history get put together in Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones. But he questions whether Jones is taking the right approach to making it happen.
The MMA world has become fascinated by a potential matchup between Ngannou and Jones if it can get done – and right now, it looks to be a big “if.” Jones has been very public on Twitter with how things are going in regards to negotiations, with some of his tweets remaining and many deleted along the way.
Recently, Jones said that he spoke with the UFC’s executive vice president Hunter Campbell and informed him that “anywhere around $8 to $10 million would be way too low for a fight of this magnitude.”
Chiesa, who is currently the No. 6 ranked welterweight in the world looking for a big fight in his own right when he returns to action, stands by the former light heavyweight champion when it comes to “Bones” getting as much money as possible for a fight with Ngannou. It’s Jones’ communication with the UFC that he sees as counterproductive.
“He’s not playing it correctly,” Chiesa told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “I’ll tell you why, he’s doing the right thing going up a weight class, I know he’s committed to it, I know he was down to fight whoever [won] that fight, and you can’t tell me he went up to heavyweight and banked on Stipe [keeping] the title. When people say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t want to fight Francis,’ I’m like, no you can’t say that because why would he commit to go to heavyweight if he’s not willing to fight both guys?
“Jon Jones is one of the best in the world. He was fighting killers at 23 years old, and I think he likes the challenge of what Francis brings to the table. He knows the risks, but I can understand his stance on wanting to get paid more. That fight... the super fights have eluded us. The greatest super fights that could’ve ever happened have eluded us throughout our time in the UFC. We never saw GSP-Anderson, we never saw Anderson-Jones, we never saw GSP-Khabib, we never saw all of these great super fights. Especially being this big heavyweight fight in a big arena, you’ve got to pay the man.
“Where Jon is going at this wrong is the public outcry on social media. He knows who to call: you call Hunter Campbell and you get the deal done. You start negotiations that way. You’re getting off on the wrong foot by getting out on social media. I think Dana being the promoter that he is, I think the comment he said where he was like, ‘If I’m Jon Jones and I’m watching this, I’m going down to [middleweight],’ no, you’re being a promoter and trying to piss him off where it’s like, ‘Oh yeah? Watch this,’ trying to get him off the edge. So, good for Dana for trying to upset him, but he’s not getting the affect that he was desiring.”
Ngannou’s heavyweight championship reign began after he stopped Stipe Miocic in the second round of the UFC 260 main event. “The Predator” picked up his fifth straight win and finish to climb to the top of the mountain.
In Chiesa’s eyes, the final moments of the fight was reminiscent of the days where legendary heavyweight Alistair Overeem was putting guys away.
“The ending sequence, and I tweeted this [after the fight], it was very Overeem-esque,” Chiesa said. “It was almost like Francis took a page out of his former foe’s repertoire. The finish was nothing shy of stellar. That was an amazing fight, amazing performance, and it’s always sad to see a guy like Stipe’s reign come to an end. I think he’s one of the most under appreciated champions for the UFC that we’ve ever had.
“[Daniel Cormier] said it best, I think he’s one of those guys we’re gonna really miss when he’s gone and I hope he’s not done yet. We’ll see what happens, but nonetheless, that was a hell of a main event and probably the last pay-per-view we’ll see at the APEX for a long time.”
If Jones vs. Ngannou happens, it’s likely to be a blockbuster at the box office for the UFC. But all parties have to tone down the rhetoric for that to happen.
“This outcry on social media is not gonna get the deal done,” Chiesa said. “I respect his stance on wanting to get paid more. I mean, dude, you’re fighting Francis Ngannou, you’re going up a weight class. This will be one of the biggest fights you will ever see in the UFC. He deserves to be paid, it’s just the wrong way to go about it.”