As we mentioned earlier today, Jon Jones is a real Twitter tear lately. And while a lot of that is just trolling the trolls, he did excite fans by listing through all the big fights he saw in his immediate future ... the one that excited everyone the most being Francis Ngannou.
“Who would you guys consider the quicker and more technical striker Thiago Santos or Francis?” Jones wrote in one tweet. “If you guys think I wouldn’t take this fight you’re insane. I have absolutely nothing else to prove as a light heavyweight. I’d love that big money fight right around now. Send the deal!”
“Got fights all over the place at heavyweight, the Thiago and Dominic rematches, middleweights talking big and of course Jan waiting for his opportunity,” Jones continued. “Call it what you want, your boys hot right now. I got a feeling my career is about to blow up and I am going to be ready for it.”
With UFC 250 currently looking extremely thin and being headlined by a not-so-scintillating women’s featherweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and the green as grass Felicia Spencer, you’d think UFC president Dana White would be more than happy to take up Jones on his offer to face Ngannou. Unfortunately the business side of things involves continuing to keep fighter pay under control, especially during these uncertain financial times. And it doesn’t sound like White is ready to pony up what it’d take to put that together.
“I don’t know if those guys really want that fight,” White said during the post-fight press conference for Saturday’s final UFC event in Jacksonville Florida. “Let me tell you this ... and I’m not saying this is the case with these two. You see a lot of talk online or whatever it might be. Actually making fights is a whole other ball game.”
White has pulled out the old “I don’t think X really wants to fight,” line time and time again. Smarter fans understand that usually means the fighter doesn’t want to fight for the amount being offered on their current contract. Nate Diaz is a perfect example of this. If the UFC hadn’t been desperate to place an important fight at the top of their New York City card being attended by Donald Trump, they probably wouldn’t have finally given Nate and Jorge Masvidal the PPV points they deserved (but hadn’t ‘earned’ in the promotion’s eyes as non-champions) for their BMF battle at UFC 244.
Jones has been making it clearer and clearer as time goes on that he’ll continue to step into the ring and fight the top contender for his standard fee, but anything special would cost the UFC more. A move to heavyweight? Show him the money. A rematch with Dominick Reyes or Thiago Santos? Show him the money. Francis Ngannou? Show. Him. The. Money.
Sometimes it hurts my head to think of all the big fights we don’t get because of the UFC’s extremely rigid unwillingness to throw money at fights that will make them more money. But the organization is just as much about keeping fighter pay locked in its current sub-20% position as much as it is about giving the fans what they want. If they won’t crack their wallet open for Nate Diaz, who has given them three of their biggest PPV events in history, what chance is there that they’ll do it for Jones vs. Ngannou?