Francis Ngannou’s contract dispute with UFC has been the subject of many headlines, particularly in the build up to UFC 270, which saw “The Predator” handle Ciryl Gane and unify the Heavyweight title. Ngannou is set to undergo knee surgery, but it remains to be seen if the Cameroonian athlete and the promotion can come to terms by the time he’s healthy.
Otherwise, Ngannou may be off to greener pastures.
Somewhat lost in the multitude of Ngannou vs. UFC news is that he’s not the only Heavyweight stuck in negotiations with the promotion! Prior to Gane’s interim title and shot at the undisputed crown, Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou was one of the most highly requested fights to make. Unfortunately, negotiations between Jones and UFC also soured, resulting in Jones taking his current hiatus to prepare and bulk up.
Jones’ trouble at his UFC Hall of Fame induction certainly didn’t help expedite the process.
Fortunately, things may be starting to progress. Richard Schaefer, former Golden Boy Promotions CEO, represents Jones, and he’ll be meeting with UFC brass this weekend in the hopes of making a deal for the Heavyweight title.
“He is willing, ready and able to fight whoever we can get for the heavyweight title,” Schaefer said (via The Sun). “The reason why I just don’t say Francis Ngannou; I’d love to put together a Francis Ngannou fight and I’m in conversations with the UFC. And as a matter of fact, I’m going to be meeting with them this weekend here in Los Angeles.”
As Schaefer said, Jones’ main priority is the belt rather than Ngannou himself. Perhaps that opens the door for an interim title, but the fight to make is still absolutely Jones vs. Ngannou for the undisputed crown at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the promotion still has a pair of difficult negotiations to reconcile if that fight is to happen.
We’ll just have to wait and see.