MMA

Dana White ‘100%’ confident in Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou prediction

Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou will go down as one of the biggest UFC fights that never happened. If this colossal fight had happened, the promotion’s CEO Dana White is certain Jones would have won just easily as he did against Ciryl Gane last year. 

“In my opinion, [Jones] does the same thing to Francis [that he did to Gane],” White said during an appearance on the Club Shay Shay podcast. “100 per cent, he does the same thing to Francis.”

Jones, the most dominant light heavyweight in MMA history, and one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history, met Gane at UFC 285 in March of 2023. It was his first fight in the heavyweight division, and his chance to become a two-division champion, with the weight class’s vacant belt on the line. He won the fight with ease, submitting Gane inside a round. 

Ngannou, meanwhile, reigned over the UFC heavyweight division until he parted ways with the promotion in early 2023. He defeated Gane by unanimous decision in his final fight in the Octagon. 

“[Jones] already went up to heavyweight and walked through [Gane],” White said. “Francis Ngannou barely made it through Ciryl Gane. 

“Jon Jones walked through him.”

Ngannou left the UFC because he felt he was underpaid by the promotion, and because his contract would not allow him to seek out lucrative opportunities in the boxing ring. 

Until he left the promotion, he and Jones were constantly linked to a fight together, but it never happened.

According to White, that is not for lack of trying. The UFC boss is also adamant that the fight’s failure to come to fruition had nothing to do with reluctance on Jones’ part. 

“We did everything in our power to try to make that Jon Jones fight, but it is what it is,” he said. 

“Jon Jones is not afraid of Francis,” he added. “Francis doesn’t want to fight Jon Jones.”

Jones defended the light heavyweight title 13 times over the course of two title reigns, defeating some of the best fighters in the division’s history along the way. The only loss on his record came when he was disqualified for blasting Matt Hamill with illegal 12-6 elbows years before he first won the belt. 

That run, but White’s estimation, makes the two-division champion “the baddest fighter to ever live in any combat sport.”

“Jon Jones is undefeated in the UFC,” White said. “He’s got one loss on his record. He lost to Steve Mazzagatti. Do you know that is? He’s the worst [expletive] ref to ref any fight. [Jones] never lost, and he went through murderer’s row. Then he goes out for three years, comes back, and beats Ciryl Gane, easily.”

Jones has not fought since winning the vacant title by defeating Gane last year, but has frequently been linked to a title fight with former champion Stipe Miocic. In the time since he’s been away, the promotion has crowned an interim heavyweight champion in Tom Aspinall, but the plan still seems to be for Jones to fight Miocic before attempting to unify the titles. 

Ngannou, meanwhile, was quickly rewarded after leaving the UFC, scoring a blockbuster boxing match with heavyweight star Tyson Fury. Despite being a gargantuan underdog heading into the ring, he shocked viewers by dropping Fury, and coming up short with a narrow decision loss. He was later booked for a boxing match with Anthony Joshua, but suffered a brutal second-round knockout loss, and has not fought since. 

If the former UFC heavyweight champion ever returns to MMA competition, it will be with the Professional Fighters League, whom he signed a contract with soon after leaving the UFC. 

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