Jones vacated the light heavyweight championship in August to pursue heavyweight. And he wants to challenge Ngannou for the belt.
“The Predator” has shown interest in the fight as well.
Before March 27’s UFC 260 when Ngannou won the title by knocking out Stipe Miocic, UFC president Dana White confirmed “Bones” would be the next heavyweight belt challenger.
However, Jones has been vocal on social media since the contest about receiving more pay to fight Ngannou. Bones, who is viewed by many as the greatest fighter of all time, believes he’s been underpaid by the company and intends to right that wrong. According to Jones, he recently spoke with UFC lawyer Hunter Campbell about fighting The Predator, saying that being paid $8 million to $10 million is “way too low for a fight of this magnitude.”
White and Jones have publicly sparred about Bones’ pay before, and after a recent report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, it appears the former light heavyweight champ is losing that battle. Helwani tweeted that the UFC was considering Ngannou versus No. 2 ranked Derrick Lewis for June, which could be a major sign that the UFC isn’t interested in paying Jones what he wants.
On Monday, Helwani tweeted, “UFC has kicked the tires on Francis Ngannou x Derrick Lewis on June 12, sources say. However the timing doesn’t work for Ngannou (and I don’t blame him; he just won the belt). Bigger story here, IMO, is, at least for now, they don’t seem keen on waiting around for Jones.
“Since 6/12, at least for now, doesn’t viable, do they revisit Jones? Maybe. But Lewis is ready, willing and able. Wouldn’t be surprised if they just try to book that rematch for sometime later in the summer/fall. Doesn’t look like they are willing to meet Jones’ price right now.”
Since 6/12, at least for now, doesn’t viable, do they revisit Jones? Maybe. But Lewis is ready, willing and able. Wouldn’t be surprised if they just try to book that rematch for sometime later in the summer/fall. Doesn’t look like they are willing to meet Jones’ price right now.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 5, 2021
After Jones’ revealed his conversation about pay with Campbell, Lewis tweeted, “I’ll do it for 8 million s********.”
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Lewis Is on a 4-Fight Win Streak & Defeated Ngannou in 2018
If Jones wasn’t a part of the equation at heavyweight, Lewis would likely be the consensus top contender to fight Ngannou for the title. He is currently on a four-fight win streak. In his most recent effort, Lewis knocked out Curtis Blaydes in the second round of their fight on February 20.
He also knocked out Aleksei Oleinik in August 2020, won against Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision in February 2020 and bested Blagoy Ivanov by split decision in November 2019.
Also, “The Black Beast” holds a victory over Ngannou. The two fought in 2018 and Lewis won the lackluster bout via unanimous decision.
Jones Hasn’t Fought in Over a Year & Has Never Competed in the UFC Heavyweight Division
Jones fighting Ngannou is the definition of a superfight — a fighter who is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world taking on a fighter who appears to be unstoppable right now, and at a higher weight class.
Bones hasn’t competed inside the Octagon since February 2020 when he defended his light heavyweight strap against Dominick Reyes. Jones’ heavyweight debut will be his first trip north of 205 pounds in the UFC, and if he gets the fight with The Predator, it will be must-see TV for MMA fans.