Jon Jones vacated the UFC light heavyweight title to make a move to heavyweight. Francis Ngannou knocked out the greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all time. The stars aligned for the biggest fight in the promotion’s history… a grand slam. But did Dana White flub the pitch?
White has been patiently waiting for this moment to arrive. Throughout the build-up to UFC 260, he said that Jones would get a crack at the winner of the heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Ngannou.
The doubt started a couple days prior. What if Miocic lost? Would he be granted an immediate rematch? White waffled at that, admitting it would be difficult to say the greatest heavyweight in UFC history wouldn’t deserve an immediate rematch.
Then, when Ngannou landed the punch heard round the world, White was faced with that exact situation. But Miocic will likely need some time off to recover. And Ngannou isn’t all that excited about a third fight with Miocic. Tee up Jones!
What should have been an easy softball to the biggest heavyweight fight ever may have been thrown into the dirt when White started questioning Jones’s willingness to fight Ngannou, who looked spectacular at UFC 260.
Jon Jones wants big bucks to challenge Francis Ngannou
After Jones tweeted, “Show me the money,” White was quick to respond at the UFC 260 post-fight press conference.
“If I’m Jon Jones and I’m sitting at home watching this fight, I start [thinking of] moving to 185,” White said. “I can sit here all day and tell you what ‘show me the money’ means. You can say you want to fight somebody, but do you really want to?”
White amped up his rhetoric another notch, almost daring Jones to make the deal on Saturday night. “Call Hunter [Campbell] right now,” he said. “We can make that fight tonight, Jon. Call Hunter right now.”
He then added, “Derrick Lewis is the fight to make.”
Is Dana White posturing as a negotiating tactic?
Jones being vocal about his pay is nothing new. That was actually part of his reasoning for vacating the UFC light heavyweight championship. Initially, he mentioned possible retirement if his contract wasn’t rectified. Then he shifted focus to heavyweight, see greater challenges and bigger fight opportunities. A good move for him as an athlete, as well as a good business move for him and the company.
At least it seemed so. A Jones vs. Ngannou bout would be an easy sell and would likely shatter records. I dare say it would rival Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor numbers. It would likely surpass them.
Taking this approach is nothing new for White, either. He’s considered one of the shrewdest promoters ever. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if White is simply ruffling Jones’s feathers because he believes it is the way to get the fight at the right price.
Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou could be the biggest UFC bout in history
After all, he has to realize this is the biggest fight the promotion can make right now, across any weight class. Only pulling Georges St-Pierre and Khabib out of retirement to fight each other could rival the excitement for Jones vs. Ngannou.
Joe Rogan even closed out the UFC 260 pay-per-view broadcast saying that Jones vs. Ngannou would be the biggest fight ever in the history of the sport of mixed martial arts.
According to Jones, a fight offer is headed his way. Who knows if it will be enough of an enticement to make the fight happen?
Jones was upset with White’s characterization of him being scared to fight Ngannou, but it appears he’s still listening, waiting to see if the UFC will step up to the plate and give him a pitch he can hit. Will they?
Jon Jones fires back at Dana White doubting his desire to fight Francis Ngannou
UFC 260 highlights & recap: Francis Ngannou blasts Stipe Miocic!
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