Francis Ngannou has already been offered his first heavyweight title defense.
After Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 to become the new heavyweight champ the fight everyone wanted to see was Ngannou vs. Jon Jones. However, “Bones” has been adamant he wants to get paid what he feels he deserves.
Yet, as the UFC and Jones are still far apart at the negotiation table, the promotion has offered Ngannou the Derrick Lewis rematch on June 12 according to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
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 (for Ngannou), 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.
The news is no doubt disappointing for many MMA fans as even though Ngannou declined the fight due to timing, it appears Lewis will be next for the champ. Although that is a fight many fans want to see, the Jones scrap is the biggest fight to be made.
Ngannou, as mentioned, is coming off a KO win over Stipe Miocic to win the belt. Before that, he was on a four-fight winning streak with all four wins coming by first-round KO where he beat Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Junior dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, and Curtis Blaydes.
Lewis, meanwhile, scored an upset KO win over Blaydes back in February to put him in title contention. He of course, beat Ngannou by decision at UFC 226 in a very lackluster fight.
Who would you pick to win the rematch, Francis Ngannou or Derrick Lewis?