Francis Ngannou doesn’t care what Jon Jones and UFC President Dana White have to say about him.
The former heavyweight champion spoke to TMZ recently about Jones and White talking about him in the aftermath of UFC 285, and Ngannou’s decision to exit the promotion. Jones went on to face Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285 earlier this month and picked up a first-round submission win to capture the heavyweight title that Ngannou vacated.
“Look, I wanted that fight as well. I’m the one that initiated that fight over two years ago. I wanted that fight, but where was Jon Jones at that time? I don’t know. Nobody seems interested, even Dana White. Nobody seems to be interested. They always find a way to go around it.
“Today, it’s not about that fight, it’s not that they wanted to give me that fight, it’s the price it was going to cost me to get that fight. I chased that fight for as long as I could and, listen, I learned in life that you have to let it go. You have to let things go, otherwise, they’ll cut your hand and take your hand away. I wanted that fight so bad, and I couldn’t have it at any cost. That’s what I will always say.”
Following the win, Jones spoke to reporters at the UFC 285 post-fight press conference and the champion reacted to Ngannou’s tweet about the performance by calling Ngannou, “A big ol’ p****.”
Ngannou was asked about the way Jones approached his response, and he wasn’t surprised by it.
“Jon is Jon, and I’m me, I don’t care,” Ngannou said. “I’ve been saying this for a little while, I am cool. I’m doing good, I did what was best for me, I’m happy. I wish that fight had happened because I feel like there’s a lot of anger, a lot of unsatisfaction on the other end — which, I don’t know — but I can’t control that. I can just control me.”
MMA fans around the world are hopeful that if Jones can defeat Stipe Miocic in their targeted title fight later this year that the UFC and Ngannou can try to negotiate a deal one more time.
While White feels there’s no chance that happens, Ngannou — who is currently targeting a boxing match with Deontay Wilder — says the door isn’t forever slammed shut.
“I’ve tried to manage this as gentle as I could,“ Ngannou explained. “I did everything in my power in order to move forward, and it didn’t work. I’ll never close the door, but now, it’s not something we can discuss [right now] because it has become very personal. I’ve just been listening to them talk about it. They’re upset, there’s a lot of anger out there, but I’m good.”