When Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to capture the heavyweight title at UFC 260 in March, most people expected his first title defense to be against former light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound great Jon Jones.
The super fight didn’t materialize because the fight promotion and Jones couldn’t come to an agreement. UFC president Dana White stated that Jones wanted $30 million for the Ngannou fight, but Jones disputes that he asked for that figure. UFC matchmakers abandoned trying to book Ngannou and Jones and switched gears to line up a rematch between Ngannou and Derrick Lewis.
Lewis stated in an interview with ESPN that he has accepted the fight against Ngannou and is waiting to hear back from the champion and the fight promotion.
“I’m happy that they finally came to me and we might be getting a deal done. We might not. We’ll see. I told them my numbers, so we’re just waiting for a response back,” said Lewis.
“We’re really just waiting on Francis. That’s all it is. We’re just waiting on Francis. I got the fight, so I’m really just waiting on Francis to pick what date he wants to get in on,” said Lewis. “They gave us some dates, some months, and so we’re just waiting for him to respond. That’s all.”
On Monday, White confirmed that Lewis will be Ngannou’s first title defense while speaking with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter.
“We’re working on that fight. That fight is going to happen this summer,” White said.
Lewis holds a decision win over Ngannou. The two fought in the UFC 226 co-main event in July 2018 in an uninspiring bout.