Friday, June 18, 2021

Francis Ngannou Remains Focused On Jones, Brushes Off Lewis Talks

Francis Ngannou remains focused solely on Jon Jones for his first UFC heavyweight title defense.

After negotiations between Jon Jones and the UFC for a Ngannou/Jones superfight seemingly died literally minutes after Ngannou became champion, it didn’t take long for UFC President Dana White to move on. White is a forward-moving kind of guy, and when Jones began playing hardball negotiations, White took his own ball and went home.

In Jones’s place, White committed to a rematch between Ngannou and “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis, even targeting Lewis’s hometown of Houston as the preferred destination for the bout.

Some recent updates on this developing story have included Jones hiring a new advisor, prominent boxing executive Richard Schaefer, someone White has expressed a great deal of respect for. However, White did not sound energetic when discussing the initial meeting between the two, signaling that nothing has changed and reminding the world that Jones expressed that he was looking to return to action next year.

Meanwhile, White has continued to double down on Ngannou/Lewis at every turn. This has led some to question why the fight has not yet been made official. According to Lewis, this is all because of everyone waiting for Ngannou to agree to the fight, with The Black Beast saying Ngannou is ignoring him and only thinking about Jones.

In an ambush interview with TMZ Sports, Ngannou all but confirmed that’s exactly what the holdup is.

“I want Jon Jones,” Ngannou said when asked who he wants to fight next.

The champion was then informed/reminded that all the talks have been about a rematch with Lewis, to which the gentle giant offered a blunt response.

“I don’t care about what the talk says…” Ngannou said. “It’s a wonderful fight. I love that fight…” Ngannou elaborated on the potential Jones fight. “I know he’s very skilled, very talented. I respect that. But we are both men, and we will find out.”

Ngannou would then predict that he would knock Jones out if this fight ever materialized.

White recently stated that when Ngannou returned to the States, the deal for Ngannou/Lewis 2 would be finalized. Judging from these comments from the champion, however, White and the UFC still have a lot of work to do to pry Ngannou’s mind off of Jonny Bones.

What do you make of these comments from Francis Ngannou? Do you think he’ll refuse to fight anyone but Jon Jones next?