Dana White has indicated that he’d more than happy to see Jon Jones fight the UFC’s new heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou next, but the UFC boss sounds skeptical that the former light-heavyweight champion actually wants it and so he’s already making alternative plans.
“Derrick Lewis is the fight to make [against Ngannou], but if Jon Jones really wants that fight, and listen, it’s one thing to go out and tweet and say you want it, and I put on the weight and this and that – do you want the fight?” White told reporters at the UFC 260 post-fight press conference. “I promise you we can call Derrick Lewis or one of these other heavyweights and they want the fight.
“If Jon Jones really wants the fight, Jon Jones knows he can get the fight. All he’s got to do is call and do it. It’s easy to say you want the fight, but if you really want the fight, Francis Ngannou is the heavyweight champion of the world right now. All he’s got to do is pick up the phone and call [UFC EVP and Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell] and we can get the deal done.”
Apparently Jones was watching the presser as he reacted to a quip from White that if he was ‘Bones’ he’d be planning a move down to 185lbs after watching Ngannou demolishing Stipe Miocic.
“Go to 185? I didn’t gain all this weight for no reason,” Jones responded on Twitter.
That message got back to White during the press conference, and again he urged Jones to get the ball rolling to make the fight a reality, but said so in a tone that suggests he isn’t going to hold his breath waiting on it happening.
“I like it,” White replied. “That sounds serious then, Jon. Call Hunter right now. We can make that fight tonight. Call Hunter right now.”
Jones financial demands to fight at heavyweight appear to be a significant roadblock right now, and reading between the lines it seems that White may be floating the idea that the former champ is deliberately pricing himself out of the Ngannou match-up.
There’s no doubt Ngannou vs. Jones would be an enormous fight for the promotion, but time will tell whether they can make it hpapen, and whatever happens, the new champion is likely to draw a lot of eyeballs to his next fight after his impressive display on Saturday night.