Francis Ngannou has no time for Jon Jones’ verbal jabs.
The former UFC heavyweight champion recently found himself catching some strays during what could have been his UFC 285 fight week. Jones is set to finally make his divisional debut in the land of giants when challenging for the vacant title opposite Ciryl Gane on Saturday night. The fight’s creation came after Ngannou failed to negotiate a new deal with the promotion, leading to his departure and vacating of the belt in January.
Ngannou planted his stance firmly upon initially becoming champion in March 2021, wishing for better overall treatment when it came to compensation and freedom to explore other opportunities outside the UFC. Jones was supportive of “The Predator’s” choice at first until recently claiming Ngannou “didn’t believe in himself” in a hypothetical dream matchup. Jones has since explained his change of tone with a tweet, stating he heard Ngannou say he’ll “forever be champion because no one beat him,” prompting a response from Ngannou.
“Personally, I don’t have any problem with Jon Jones,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “I think we all know that Jon Jones has multiple personalities, and sometimes it’s even hard for him to figure out who he really is and I don’t have nothing to do with that.
“I think in this fight we could have been on the same side, instead of like fighting against each other, which is exactly what the system wants. You know, to divide the most, to conquer. So, I’m not really into that game. I see clearly what’s happening, I understand very well what’s happening, and I wish them all the best, you know?”
When the news surrounding the heavyweight division’s peak was announced, UFC President Dana White revealed Ngannou was offered the largest heavyweight contract in promotional history, which Ngannou later confirmed to be “around $8 million.” Ultimately, that contract went to Jones when renegotiating for the Gane bout, according to his manager Richard Schaeffer.
“I’m happy I got what I wanted,” Ngannou said. “Hopefully, they get what they want. Hopefully, he’ll end up at peace with whatever he has that changed his mind, but I’m good, man. I don’t have the time to spend on drama. I just have a beautiful future ahead of me and I’m going to be focused on that and be grateful for what life has offered me.”
Ngannou’s immediate future is yet to be decided, but his goal is to have a professional boxing match before returning to MMA. Discussions have been in the air regarding possible encounters against top boxers, Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua, and Ngannou notes that he’s closing in on some deals with the intention of competing during the summer.
As for Jones vs. Gane, Ngannou’s final UFC win came over Gane via unanimous decision in January 2022. The former champion sees cases for either man to get the job done, but believes it will largely depend on how “Bones” looks in his new weight class after three years out of the octagon.
“This fight can go either way,” Ngannou said. “Ciryl Gane is a very tough opponent, a very tough one for Jon Jones. We all know Jon is a very special fighter. So, it depends, what Jon are we talking about? It depends on the Jon Jones that’s going to show up that night.
“I think if Jon Jones shows up, it’s going to be a rough night for Ciryl. Once again, Jon Jones, you don’t really know what’s happening with Jon Jones. We will wait and see. If he shows up, I think it’s going to be an amazing fight.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Work with the GOAT bantamweight to ever do it.— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) February 28, 2023
•#AndStill #ChasingGreatness #Vegas pic.twitter.com/JXCmnbIRU4
Issei Tamura didn't go far in the UFC, but that knockout was a stunner. pic.twitter.com/pezO6VQhzs— Cerebral Vigilante (@Delisketo) February 28, 2023
Beautiful MMA math.
Bro Gane got taken down by Francis …)who got taken down by a strawweight ) jones will dominate https://t.co/wYLhN5S2E7 pic.twitter.com/dMOLSVDvjw— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) February 28, 2023
Ian Gary and his son say hello to his #UFC285 opponent Song Kenan— Combat Sports UK (@CombatSportsUK) February 28, 2023
Tough pill to swallow: They’re not “your person”, it’s just your turn. ️— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) February 28, 2023
Jon Jones wrestling with Olympic medalist J'den Coxpic.twitter.com/8lut3T1X5Y— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) February 28, 2023
Yep, it was real.
MVP talks about his most viral knockout #Bellator292— Morning Kombat (@morningkombat) February 28, 2023
All NEW Room Service Diaries w/ @lthomasnews, @bcampbell, and @michaelpage247 is available here: https://t.co/JAqOOyglYN pic.twitter.com/xftkXedea4
UFC 286:— BestFightOdds (@BestFightOdds) March 1, 2023
Justin Gaethje (+235)
Rafael Fiziev (-275)https://t.co/FzIM3jPD9C @Justin_Gaethje
.@Actionman513 gave Sean Strickland some birthday presents— MMA Mania (@mmamania) March 1, 2023
Back in the gym.
Had great rounds today! @VicenteLuqueMMA @MoTownPhenom @LoosaAnge @TAKM_MMA @henrihooft @RVCA @Sanabul pic.twitter.com/Qk3IupZzq4— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) February 28, 2023
Let's give the fans what they want @ScottCoker I'm the one that's going to put that one on Yaroslav Amosov's record and turn it into 27-1 @BellatorMMA #ANDNEW #rastatime @GilbertDurinho @KillCliff_FC @DerekBrunson @Menace155 @MoTownPhenom pic.twitter.com/xF2KFUiMLC— Jason Jackson MMA (@TAKM_MMA) February 28, 2023
He said NO woman could ever beat him and she destroyed his leg in 10 seconds pic.twitter.com/8prL5ZqCtE— BJJotter (@JiujitsuOtter) February 28, 2023
Happy Bisping day.
Haha thanks old housecat https://t.co/h12tzg7BdI— michael (@bisping) March 1, 2023
Kenneth Cross (13-3) vs. Killys Mota (14-3); Bellator 294, April 21
Tom Breese (15-4) vs. Bartosz Lesko (12-2-2); KSW 80, March 17
Roberto Soldic (20-3) vs. Zebaztian Kadestam (14-7); ONE Fight Night 10, May 5
Ugh. I’m still really into Gane getting this fight, but this all just makes me wish we were getting Ngannou vs. Jones all that much more.
Thanks for reading and happy hump day, chaps!
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