UFC matchmakers had originally tried to put together a super fight between former light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou, but couldn’t come to an agreement.
“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,” UFC president Dana White said on a recent podcast on TheRinger.com.
“In his deal, he’s talking he wants $30 million guaranteed,” White 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, but either way, the fight promotion has moved on. Lewis has been offered the title fight, and is just waiting to hear back from the UFC and Ngannou.
“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 in an interview with ESPN.
“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.”