With heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou currently out of action with a knee injury and potentially considering sitting on the sidelines until his contract ends late this year anyway, Daniel Cormier has called for the UFC to put together an interim title fight.
“I think we’ll see another interim title. For me, what makes sense for that interim title is Stipe Miocic and Jon Jones,” Cormier said on his RC & DC show on ESPN. “I think you put those two together and then no matter who wins, when Francis comes back, you have a massive fight waiting for you.”
It’s been two years since Jones last fought, successfully defending the 205lb title against Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision before vacating the belt in preparation for what’s proven to be a long-awaited move up to heavyweight.
Despite the long layoff, Cormier believes that his old rival’s reputation proceeds him, and as such he should be getting an immediate title shot.
“If Jon Jones fights at heavyweight, you want a belt on the line,” Cormier said. “You don’t want him just fighting. I used to think that, oh, put him against Curtis Blaydes or somebody else. No, you put him in a fight where if he wins, the end visual is the belt getting strapped on him, even if it’s an interim title because then it just elevates the next fight. So I think Stipe-Jones is the fight to make, and I can see a world where Ciryl Gane fights against Curtis Blaydes. The heavyweight division is interesting right now, and the champion being away doesn’t really hurt it all that much.”
Miocic has also been out of action for a while, with his last bout being a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou that ended his own title reign back in March of last year.
The former champion had been eager to avenge that loss, but indicated last year that he was willing to fight Jones.