Francis Ngannou seems to think Jon Jones moving up to the Heavyweight division will benefit him greatly because of “Bones” having better technique and a higher fight IQ than the much bigger heavy-hitters competing at 265 pounds.
“I think Heavyweight might be even easier for Jon Jones than Light Heavyweight,” Ngannou recently said in an interview with ESPN. “Obviously, Heavyweight they hit harder, but it’s not the same technique, it’s not the same fight IQ.”
Current Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, kindly disagrees to an extent.
During his chat with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Miocic said that while he agrees “Bones” has great technique and is very fluid with his actions, he still has to be careful he doesn’t get tagged by one clean shot from the much bigger competition.
“Listen, we’re big boys with smaller gloves on,” the current 265-pound champion said. “It just takes one (punch) I don’t care if you don’t hit hard you can still get caught I don’t care who you are.
“I look at my first fight against ‘D.C.,’” he continued. “I’ve been hit with everything and didn’t go down, but ‘D.C.’ caught me with a shot I didn’t see and I went down. So I don’t think it will be that much easier especially when you have all that weight to worry about. It’s not 205 and you got guys up to 265 if not bigger who don’t cut weight.”
Miocic was knocked out by the recently-retired Daniel Cormier at UFC 226 in 2018 (see it here), only to return the favor to him at UFC 241. Miocic went on to close out the trilogy with a five-round shutout at UFC 252 a few weeks ago.
Still, Jones has yet to be knocked out — or taste true defeat, for that matter — in his entire mixed martial arts (MMA) career, so he’s always been very good at avoiding the kill shots from the much faster 205-pound fighters throughout his tenure.
And it’s all credited to his instinct and technique, which Miocic says will help him in the land of the big men.
“He’s got great technique so it’s definitely going to help him. He is very fluid in what he does,” he added. “He has a great gameplan every time he fights. It’s a good thing to have a good plan every time you walk into a fight.”
After vacating his Light Heavyweight title, Jones announced he and UFC would begin talks in the hopes of coming to a financial deal that would see him compete at Heavyweight for the first time in his career. In the meantime, Miocic and Ngannou will run it back sometime this year for the 265-pound title, which leads many to believe Jon’s first fight in his new division will be against the winner.