UFC president Dana White and former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ war of words continued following UFC 260 as Francis Ngannou was crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic with a stunning performance to earn himself a second-round knockout, setting up a potential fight with ‘Bones’ Jones in the summer. Jones is set to move up to heavyweight after dominating the light heavyweight division in the UFC since signing with the company in 2008.
Jones has officially only ever been beaten once in his career, via disqualification after he landed some illegal elbows in a fight he was completely dominating. Since then he is unbeaten, first winning the UFC title in 2011 to become the youngest ever champion in the companies history. He had only ever lost the title by being stripped for out-of-cage issues including drug tests and run-ins with the law until he vacated the belt last summer.
After taking time away from the cage to be able to put the weight on for his move up the weight classes, Jones was declared as next in line by Dana White ahead of UFC 260’s main event.
Jones has always stated that while he is interested in competing with the UFC’s biggest fighters at championship level, the money has to be right for him to be able to do so. White intimated during the post-fight presser that Jones was using this as an excuse not to fight, potentially out of fear because of how scary the new champion Ngannou is.
After Jones watched ‘The Predator’ decapitate Miocic in the second round, he tweeted out “show me the money” to indicate his interest in a bout.
Dana White replied to this tweet directly in the post-fight presser, joking that if he were Jones “he’d be looking to move to 185.” Jones quickly responded to that tweet saying, “Go to 185? I didn’t gain all this weight for no reason!”
White followed up in his press conference by stating that it’s easy to say you want the fight but to hide behind excuses, citing Derrick Lewis as the next fight to make if the Jones bout couldn’t get done.
“Derrick Lewis is the fight to make, but if Jon Jones really wants that fight, and listen, it’s one thing to go out and tweet and say you want it, and I put on the weight and this and that – do you want the fight?
“I promise you we can call Derrick Lewis or one of these other heavyweights and they want the fight.
“If Jon Jones really wants the fight, Jon Jones knows he can get the fight. All he’s got to do is call and do it. It’s easy to say you want the fight, but if you really want the fight, Francis Ngannou is the heavyweight champion of the world right now. All he’s got to do is pick up the phone and call [UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell] and we can get the deal done.”
Jones would respond on social media once again, stating his reasons for financial incentive rather than just glory.
Jones would go on to further defend his position, stating that it has nothing to do specifically with Ngannou being the champion and is more to do with his position as the consensus greatest of all-time.
The 33-year-old went on to add that he felt White’s comments were ‘disrespectful’ and a ‘slap in the face’ when he feels he has gone about doing things the right way.
It certainly seems as though this is a firm negotiating stance from both sides that is unlikely to find a solution any time soon without some serious talks going down first. Ngannou admitted that the Jones fight is the one he likes most and believes should happen next, but did also say that he is a company man and wants to remain active so will fight whoever the UFC tell him to.
With a July or August date pencilled in by the new champion for his first defence, there is time for something to be ironed out by all parties to find an agreement.