Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou: Bones hopeful 'stubborn' Dana White will meet his wage demands

  • Tom Ward
Jon Jones

Jon Jones said he’s hopeful the UFC will meet his wage demands, but is open to the possibility of plying his trade with another promotion.

Jones (26-1, 1NC) said that a potential super-fight with Francis Ngannou is something that appeals to him after the French-Cameroonian knockout artist stopped Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last Saturday to claim the heavyweight belt. 

The former light heavyweight champion has been embroiled in a public spat with UFC president Dana White in a dispute over his desire for a massive payday. 

‘Bones’ told Steve-O’s Wild Ride! podcast in an episode released on Thursday he’s held talks with the UFC, but they’re refusing to play ball. He went on to express his disappointment with the whole situation and suggested that the door is definitely open to exploring free agency if he doesn’t get what he feels he deserves.

Because of his incredible 18-fight winning streak, the 33-year-old mixed martial artist is widely considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time, so it would be no surprise to see other promotions show their interest should he become a free agent. But Jones admitted that it is unlikely the UFC will ever release him from his contract.

“That’s the main problem about my situation currently,” he said. “In any other professional, if you’re unhappy with the way you’re being treated or the way you’re being paid or whatever, you can just take your sh*t and leave and go to the next boss and see if they value you more. In my situation I would be forced to retire from fighting completely unless I wanted to coach or own a gym. My hands are tied.

“I do believe wholeheartedly that the companies that own Bellator and these other leagues do have the same financial backing as the UFC had. And I do believe having Jon Jones be the new face of your promotion, especially today when I’m really making an effort for the first time to get my sh*t somewhat together. … I do think right now is a good time for any company to have me and my goal is to be an asset to any company that I’m a part of. And I’ve got a feeling that if I were able to get out of my UFC contract, I would be huge for another company. I just wish my relationship with Dana wasn’t what it is. I get that you’ve got to make these hundreds of millions of dollars off me, but if you don’t like me anymore, if you flat out don’t like me. I don’t feel like he actually likes me. I’ve never had whiskey night and dinners and sh*t like that. I don’t think I’m his favourite person and I think it’s very clear when you watch one of his interviews come up.

Jon Jones

“My point is: If that’s what it is and it has got to a point of being personal, then I would much just rather work for a company where I felt like I’m home when I go to work. I do have a great relationship with the UFC staff, it’s just a weird thing when you feel like they don’t want you there.”

This isn’t the first time Jones has picked a fight with the UFC kingpin. White once claimed that Jones had asked for “Deontay Wilder money” for a fight against Ngannou last year, in reference to the former WBC boxing heavyweight champion who earned a reported $30M for his rematch with Tyson Fury.

However, despite the UFC’s initial reluctance to upgrade his current deal, Jones still believes there’s a willingness from all parties involved to deliver this fight in 2021.  

“The UFC will go on whether I fight or not,” Jones said. “I’ve got nothing to lose being in the position that I’m in right now. I don’t want to fight soon. I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I’m worth. … I think it’s really powerful to stand up for what you believe is right, and I think eventually the UFC will realize that they’re being stubborn, they’ll realize that they do have a special athlete in myself and I think they’ll eventually meet me half way.

“I think I’m even more beatable as a heavyweight, and that’s why I went to Dana White looking for a raise. Daniel Cormier got a raise when he went to heavyweight, I was looking for a raise to go heavyweight. Francis Ngannou is scary. There’s a big chance he could break my jaw. I’m OK with that. As a fighter I’ve whooped enough ass that if someone eventually gets me, then we all have our day. I’m OK with that. But that should come with an increase in pay. I think me at heavyweight, the pay-per-view numbers are going to go up inevitably, more people are going to watch.”

Jon  Jones

Jones last fought in February of last year, when he defeated Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision to defend his light heavyweight and extend his professional MMA record to 26-1 with one no contest.

Ngannou, meanwhile, is unbeaten in his past five fights since his most recent loss to Derrick Lewis, with notable stoppage victories over Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. 

When asked to share his thoughts on a potential match-up with the newly-crowned champ, Jones replied: “Francis Ngannou, it’s very simple: Get comfortable with the worst-case scenario.

“Worst-case scenario is he knocks you the f*ck out, he possibly fractures a bone in your face. That’s the worst-case scenario. You get comfortable with that idea, it becomes easy. If he doesn’t knock you out and break your face (because) you’re smart, you’re fast, you have a chin, you have great head movement, you can wrestle.

“There’s a lot of ways things can play out. So I just think about the worst-case scenario and get yourself mentally to a place where you’re almost walking into that like, ‘OK, I’m getting ready to go out there and this guy could possibly hurt me tonight.’ Francis Ngannou’s dangerous, I believe that he has a chance to knock me the f*ck out, let’s say that out loud. But if I don’t get knocked out, I believe I win that fight. I just have to get though Round 1 and I win that fight.”

News Now - Sport News