Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou have been going back-and-forth on Twitter in recent days, with Jones seemingly pursuing a move up to heavyweight to take on perhaps the single scariest knockout artist in all of MMA. Fans are certainly interested and obviously don’t care that a belt wouldn’t be on the line, but will it actually become reality soon?
If you’re to believe the UFC’s reigning light heavyweight champion, it looks like negotiations have hit a snag. Jones made a series of tweets claiming that the UFC didn’t want to give him more money for the Ngannou fight, and then followed it up with suggesting that he won’t return to action any time soon.
unbelievable— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
Before even discussing numbers, the UFC was unwilling to pay more for the Francis super fight / for me to move to heavyweight. Said I could possibly earn more in pay-per-view buys.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
Honestly no, not in the stage of my career. I could retire today. I’ve already done my job, I’ve given this company over a decade of entertainment. https://t.co/8V3iORDXAk— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
Maybe when they’re ready to do better business I’ll come back, until then health fitness and family.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
It’s been fun you guys, maybe I’ll see you all in a year or two.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
I should’ve worded that differently, I actually think these guys do great business. Right now things just aren’t where I want them to be.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 21, 2020
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) narrowly defeated Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision at UFC 247 to retain his 205 lbs crown. It was his second consecutive close shave, having edged out Thiago Santos at UFC 239. Jan Blachowicz figures to be the next light heavyweight defense for Jones, who won’t receive any additional punishment from the UFC following his March arrest for DWI.
Ngannou (15-3) is coming off a sensational 20-second KO of Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249. His four-fight winning streak has seen him knock all of his foes out in under three combined minutes. You would think a title shot versus the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier trilogy winner would be next up, but there is some uncertainty as to if or when that fight will happen.
As such, it looks as if we’ve been treated to Jones engaging in a public negotiating battle with the UFC. Asked at last Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 8 post-fight press conference, Dana White was skeptical that these two actually wanted to fight each other.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Jones has been teasing a heavyweight move for a big fight since 2013, back when Cain Velasquez was champion. We’re in 2020 and this still has yet to materialized, although maybe this time Jon really really really means it, and just wants the UFC to pay up.