UFC president Dana White is open to giving Jon Jones a shot at the heavyweight title, but only after Francis Ngannou has had his opportunity.
Jones, the longtime king of the 205-pound division, announced this week that he is vacating the light heavyweight crown. “Bones” later added that negotiations are underway for his Octagon return to take place at heavyweight. Jones has been at odds with the UFC for some time now regarding his pay, which has delayed his highly-anticipated return to action.
Now, however, it looks like things are moving in the right direction to get the arguable greatest of all time back to work. It’s hard to imagine Jones fighting for anything but a title in his debut at heavyweight, and Dana White agrees, as he told SportsCenter during a recent interview. Only, White says top contender Francis Ngannou needs to get his shot at the gold first.
“(Miocic vs. Ngannou) is definitely the fight that’s going to happen at heavyweight now,” White said (via MMA Junkie). “Francis Ngannou had earned that title shot. Then we’ll see what happens. We had a matchmaking meeting today. A lot of the top four or five guys are laid out for fights coming up in the fall. We’ll see what Jon Jones’ timing is to come back and who makes sense for him.
“… Listen, (Jones) is the longtime light heavyweight champion. In my opinion, he is the greatest of all time. If he wants to come back and take a shot at the heavyweight championship, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But he can’t jump in front of Francis Ngannou right now.”
Ngannou is currently on a four-fight win streak and has won all of those contests via devastating first-round knockout. Only one of those fights made it past the first minute of the bout. He’s now next in line to challenge the greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all time, Stipe Miocic, which will be a rematch from their initial meeting in January of 2018. Miocic wont that bout via unanimous decision, handing the Cameroon-born knockout artist the first of two losses on his UFC record.
Regardless of who comes out on top of that planned matchup, it makes for an exciting prospect in regards to a fight with Jones. As White himself says, it’s hard to pick anyone but “Bones” for the title of greatest of all time.
“Well, I say it all the time,” White said. “He’s the GOAT. If you look at his career right now, he’s like 26-1. He’s 27-0. He’s never been beaten in the octagon. He’s fought the who’s who of the sport. He went through murderers’ row at 205 pounds and destroyed everybody. He’s the greatest of all time.”