Derrick Lewis is in negotiations to fight heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in a rematch after the UFC couldn’t reach an agreement with Jon Jones. “The Black Beast” has accepted the bout and is just waiting to hear back from the fight promotion.
Jones, the former light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin, was expected to face Ngannou in his heavyweight debut but UFC president Dana White said Jones was asking for too much money and moved on to booking the Ngannou vs. Lewis rematch.
“We tried to work with Jon and we eventually have to move on because, realistically, in all honesty, Derrick Lewis is the guy who deserves the fight. Derrick Lewis is a heavyweight. He beat Francis Ngannou. He’s looked good in his last couple of fights. He’s ranked in the top three, I think. He deserves the fight, so that’s the fight that should happen. We’ll just roll and do what we do. When Jon’s ready, he’ll let us know,” White recently said on a recent podcast on TheRinger.com.
“In his deal, he’s talking he wants $30 million guaranteed,” he continued. “The way that this works is these guys all share in the pay-per-view. You think that this is gonna be a big fight. I agree with you and think it’s gonna be a big fight. Well, he will share in the profits of the fight. That’s how it works. That’s how you run a business and you don’t go broke.”
Jones disputes that he asked for $30 million to face Ngannou and has since split from his longtime management team First Round Management.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Lewis was asked whether he thought Jones deserved the numbers White put out. Lewis is hoping to finalize the contracts to face Ngannou a second time, but believes Jones deserves to be paid well.
“The guy’s never lost. He’s defended his belt that many times. He’s been a champion for so long,” Lewis said. “I believe that he deserves it. He deserves it. He’s the GOAT. You’ve got to pay him like he’s the best fighter ever.”