UFC president Dana White admitted on Saturday night that “anything’s possible” when it comes to a potential heavyweight showdown between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou.
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The idea of Jones vs. Ngannou gained traction following Jones’ controversial Twitter spree during the UFC’s mid-week fight card. Jones seemed to be inspired by former opponent Ovince Saint Preux’s efforts at heavyweight against Ben Rothwell. Despite losing a tight split decision, “OSP” showed mixed martial arts fans that he can certainly hang in there with heavyweight contenders, even those who weigh-in at the 265-pound limit.
Jones tweeted that he was “visualizing” himself as OSP during the fight and later asked fans who “who would you guys consider the quicker and more technical striker Thiago Santos or Francis [Ngannou]?”
Who would you guys consider the quicker and more technical striker Thiago Santos or Francis? If you guys think I wouldn’t take this fight you’re insane. I have absolutely nothing else to prove as a light heavyweight. I’d love that big money fight right around now. Send the deal
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 14, 2020
Ngannou soon responded to the light heavyweight champion, stating that he too felt like Jones had nothing else to prove in the division he has ruled for many years before suggesting that a fight between the two “should be for bags.”
If you think you can handle my technique level that’s fine 🤷♂️ but I agree with you that you don’t have anything to prove in LHW division and that this should be for bags 💰💰💰💰💰💰💰 https://t.co/PtD04F3aSl
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) May 14, 2020
Ngannou’s recent 20-second knockout victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249 only further solidified his spot as the #2 contender in the heavyweight division as he and the rest of the division waits for the expected trilogy fight between champion Stipe Miocic and top contender Daniel Cormier.
“I don’t like this situation,” Ngannou told MMA Fighting last week. “I don’t like thinking about if Stipe and D.C. is going to happen. Are they going to fight? When are they going to fight? And what’s going to happen if the winner gets hurt and when will they come back to fight again?
“Maybe another potential 11-month or one-year layoff for me again. It’s something that I don’t even want to think about it.”
Ngannou currently faces what could be a long layoff in the heavyweight division as he waits to challenge for the title once more, but a mega-fight with Jones would be more than enough to entice him back to the cage before then.
Betting odds released by MyBookie have Francis Ngannou as the slight favorite if the heavyweight matchup eventuates. Jones, the underdog, may represent good value for those looking to back the reigning light heavyweight champion in his first appearance in the heavier weight class.
Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones betting odds
It’s certainly no guarantee that this fight will happen, however, and Dana White admitted to media on Saturday night that he has his doubts.
“I don’t know if those guys really want that fight. You know what I mean?” White said during the UFC post-fight press conference.
“But let me tell you this, and I’m not saying this is the case with these two. You see a lot of talk online and whatever… but actually making fights is a whole other ball game.”
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.