After Francis Ngannou became the new UFC heavyweight champion at UFC 260, the entire MMA world immediately set their sights on a superfight between Ngannou and Jon “Bones” Jones. This includes UFC President Dana White, the fans, and of course Jones and Ngannou themselves.
The problem? Jones and the UFC were miles apart on the numbers to make it happen, so everybody moved on for the time being. That is, everybody but Francis Ngannou.
After Dana White halted his pursuit of a Ngannou/Jones clash in favor of a rematch between Ngannou and Derrick Lewis instead, Jones stated that he is looking to return in 2022 to ensure that he makes the heavyweight transition properly.
Meanwhile, in a TMZ Sports interview released yesterday, Ngannou insisted that he is only interested in fighting Jones next and does not care about the talk of a rematch against Lewis. Shortly after this statement was publicized, Jones offered this word of advice to Ngannou:
“Remember you’re not a champ until you defend that title @francis_ngannou. Be careful what you wish for.”
Francis Ngannou would then issue the following response to Jonny Bones that closely mirrored Jones’ past comments to current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
“Rumor says you don’t want to fight until next year. Don’t be scared Jonny boy, it’s just a fight.”
During Jon Jones’s lengthy spat with Adesanya last year, one of Jones’s arguments against the middleweight was that Adesanya was scared based on his admission of not being ready to fight Jones yet. On one occasion, Jones stated:
“BUT what? You’ve stepped into the ring over 100 times now and you’re still not ready!?” Jones wrote on Instagram. “You have a youth advantage and like four times the fighting experience. The truth is you’re already my pussy, you love being undefeated and you’ve seen what’s happened to everyone else.”
There are many parallels here in what Jones said to Adesanya with Ngannou’s brief response to Jones. Though Ngannou did not point out the similarities himself, it’s worth noting that Jones also has a youth advantage, a wide fight experience advantage, and is widely considered to be unofficially undefeated, having never been finished or on the losing end of a decision.
Furthermore and more to the point, Jones, like Adesanya before him, implied that he is not ready for a fight in a new weight class. Accordingly, just as Jones did to The Last Stylebender, Ngannou is responding to Jones’s lack of readiness with accusations of fear.
Do you think Jon Jones is afraid to fight Francis Ngannou?