Jon Jones has spoken a lot in recent days about wanting a huge payday in order to seal a heavyweight clash of the titans with new heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, but until now we didn’t have a real sense about what kind of money he was taking about.
Well, that’s all changed now as Jones has revealed how much WOULDN’T be enough to secure his signature on the bout agreement, and it’s an astronomical amount.
“I had a brief phone meeting with UFC‘s lawyer Hunter a few days ago,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “As of right now I expressed to him that anywhere around eight to $10 million would be way too low for a fight of this magnitude. That’s all that has been discussed so far.
“I’m supposed to be waiting for what their offer is going to be. Really hoping the numbers are nowhere near that low. I guess we will see what happens.”
To put that into perspective, Jones biggest fight salary to date was a guaranteed $2 million, alongside a cut of the PPV revenue, while by far the UFC’s biggest draw, Conor McGregor received a $5 million payout, in addition to his PPV cut, for his last fight against Dustin Poirier earlier this year.
“I’ve been working my ass off for years, concussions, surgeries, fighting the Toughest competition UFC had to offer throughout my 20s for right around 2 million per fight,” Jones explained. “I’m just trying to have my payday, the fight that all of us fighters Believe is one day possible.”
“I feel like this fight is monumental, matchup‘s like this don’t come very often in a lifetime. Me stopping Francis in my first fight up at heavyweight would be nothing short of extraordinary. Ali versus foreman, hosted by the UFC.”
It certainly feels like a one-of-a-kind fight, with Jones having remained unbeaten for so long, with his resume leaving him in a strong position to argue he’s the Greatest Of All Time, while Ngannou in his current form feels like an unstoppable force of nature.
The fact that this will also be the first time we’ve seen Jones competing at heavyweight after impressively filling out his physique adds extra spice to the occasion as he goes up against a veritable man mountain in ‘The Predator’.
With all that being said, while his winning record remains intact, Jones recent decision wins over the likes of Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes have seen him challenged more than some observers expected, leaving him appearing to be less invincible than earlier in his career, while his troubles outside of the Octagon over the years, including police arrests and USADA anti-doping punishments, haven’t helped his cause.
Realistically, Jones while he’s pulled solid numbers, he’s nowhere close to the drawing power of a Conor McGregor, and meanwhile, Ngannou has the potential to become a huge breakout star for the company – potentially even the UFC’s equivalent of Mike Tyson – but really he’s still only at the fringes of fulfilling that potential as far as a mainstream global audience is concerned.
So, while there’s no denying it’s already set to be a blockbuster fight, particularly as big heavyweight title encounters naturally tends to draw more of a crowd, there may still be some hesitation on the UFC’s part to pull the trigger on it right away if it means blowing the roof of their current pay structure in order to tmake it happen.
Dana White has already floated the possibility of having Ngannou rematch Derrick Lewis instead, and ‘The Black Beast’ is licking his chops at the idea.
“I’ll do it for 8 million shiiiittt @ufc,” Lewis joked on Twitter after reading Jones’ payout demands.
“I’m sure he would, let him. Derek also doesn’t have 15 world championships on his resume. Their last fight was one of the most boring heavyweight fights in recent history. Completely different situation,” Jones responded.
We’ve seen these high-profile fight negotiation posturing take place in public before – such as when Conor McGregor threatened retirement ahead of a potential rematch with Nate Diaz, or when GSP and Dana White were at loggerheads over his comeback to challenge for the middleweight title.
It should be noted that in the end both of those fights were eventually signed up, so hopefully that will be the case here too, but there’s no guarantees and if Jones completely prices himself out of the market then Lewis could quickly find himself in the title contention hotseat.