Long before a big time Heavyweight bout between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou was in Dana White’s crosshairs, the big man showdown every fight fan wanted the UFC boss to make was one between former 265-pound champion, Brock Lesnar, and former PRIDE champion, Fedor Emelianenko.
It was said that White even made the trip to an island to meet with Fedor’s representatives in an attempt to get the fight done. In the end, the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement and the fight — like many “super” fights before (and after) — went up in smoke.
The same seems to be happening at the moment with Jones vs Ngannou because “Bones” and UFC brass can’t seem to find the middle ground when it comes to salary. In fact, it’s lead to Jones teasing a lengthy sit out, with White suggesting that perhaps the former Light Heavyweight champion retire.
During a recent chat with Yahoo Sports, White talked about the big differences in trying to get a fight between Lesnar and Fedor done with those of Jones versus Ngannou.
“I have been doing the Jon Jones thing for 10 years now, and I know how this thing works,” White told Kevin Iole. “Jon Jones is a different animal. Listen, if I came to a deal with Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko at the time, both of these guys wanted to fight each other and they wanted to go compete ... that’s not Jon.
“Jon is one of those guys that could have blown this sport wide open,” he added. “He could have had a Nike deal where he had shoes with them for the next 25 years after he retired. I get excited when I know Jon is really coming in and he is going to fight. So I don’t want to set myself up ... if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Jon Jones can go out on top and retire tomorrow. If he calls tomorrow and says he retires I wouldn’t be shocked and I wouldn’t be devastated. I would say good for him. And if Jon Jones calls tomorrow and says I want to fight tomorrow, I want Stipe. Then awesome, let’s make it and get it going.”
Now that Jones has secured the services of former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer — a man White likes and respects — things could get better between the two parties and a fight against Ngannou could actually happen.
After Derrick Lewis gets his chance, of course.