As Jon Jones campaigns for a big payday to face Francis Ngannou, his striking coach Mike Winkeljohn is right behind him. In a recent conversation with Submission Radio, Winkeljohn gave his take on how much the fight is likely worth.
“Gosh, I look at the big fights. I think this fight can be easily as [big as] some of the big Mayweather fights out there,” he said. “What did Floyd Mayweather make? A hundred million? I don’t know. You know, that type of thing. He was kind of his own promoter.
“So, Jon’s gotta share that with the UFC as far as on pay-per-view buys. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a fifty-million-dollar fight. And the UFC still makes bank and is able to pay off a lot of the debt they have and go forward.
“I think the UFC needs a superstar like Jon Jones. I think Conor was the guy for a while, and he’s fallen off. But those big names is what makes the UFC money, ultimately.”
Ngannou vs. Jones is indeed a massive fight, one that the heavyweight division hasn’t seen in a long time. But on the other hand, you have Jones expressing dissatisfaction with the UFC and once again calling to be released from his contract.
According to Winkeljohn, it’s more about Jones weighing his options and finding the best one for himself.
“That’s a conversation I haven’t had deep with Jon Jones. Like I said, I think it’s all about are there other promoters out there that can put together the matches for Jon Jones? Can he make the money outside? Or does he need the UFC?
“I mean, that’s the ultimate question right there,” he said. “The UFC’s the top, and they are who they are for a reason. They’re the best at what they do, and they have a great value that way. And Dana understands that. He’s the one that built it. There’s no doubt about it. So, it’s all about what Jon can find, what’s best for him. And ultimately, he’s got to make that decision. And his team, all the coaches, we’re gonna back him up one hundred percent.
“He would never leave the UFC if he didn’t’ have a plan. Like I said, Jon’s a master behind the scenes. People don’t understand. He’s hung out with Greg Jackson for a long time. And talking about understanding strategy, those two guys, they get pretty deep with what they’re doing.
“So, there’s always fakes and feints out there, and playing one thing. The art of war has been read many times by both of them.”
If Jones is indeed shopping around for opportunities outside of the UFC, Bellator could be one of his options, according to women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg.