According to UFC president Dana White, we won’t be getting the Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou superfight anytime soon.
Jon Jones vacated his light heavyweight title last year so he could finally move up to heavyweight and the man many consider the greatest of all-time has been regularly updating everyone with his training ahead of his move up in weight.
But it is Derrick Lewis who will be getting the next shot and that fight is nearly finalised.
“Derrick Lewis is next in line,” White told the media after UFC 262. “He’s the guy that deserves the shot at the heavyweight championship and yeah, we will get that fight done. We’re not talking about it yet because it’s probably not going to be until mid or late August.”
When asked whether former champion Stipe Miocic would fight the winner or not, White once again cut Jones out of the picture.
“Jon has made it very clear he’s not going to fight Stipe. So, yeah [Stipe Miocic would fight the winner of Ngannou vs Lewis].”
It’s worth noting that Lewis is one of only two men to have beaten Ngannou before, so there is some logic to making this fight. Plus, he just defeated the highly-ranked Curtis Blaydes, too.
For the superfight, the problem lies in the money. Jones is undoubtedly a big star in UFC, but White’s argument will be there’s levels to this.
Jones’ highest-bought PPV event was his second meeting with Daniel Cormier that pulled in 860k buys.
For context, Conor McGregor has had seven fights over one million buys with one of them over two million buys.
Jones believes challenging the formidable and frankly scary Ngannou for the heavyweight title is a blockbuster fight that would do big business. He wants to be compensated as such and there’s no problem with that – it’s a legitimately huge fight.
Jones’ top 13 fights in his UFC career have grossed over seven million buys and while not in McGregor’s league at all, he is one of the bigger draws in the sport all things told. McGregor just lives on another stratosphere in that department.
Jones and Ngannou would likely draw over one million buys and perhaps get well on their way to two million, but with Jones wanting a guaranteed purse of around $10 million to even get in the octagon, White seems unlikely to budge.
Again, for context, the most White has paid someone up front for a fight is Conor McGregor and that was $3 million for UFC 229 against Khabib Nurmagomedov. That was a smart investment as that card is the highest bought PPV in UFC’s history and by a distance.
It looks like Dana White won’t be blinking first in these negotiations.