UFC matchmakers are trying to get former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones booked against reigning heavyweight titleholder Francis Ngannou atop the UFC 285 pay-per-view (PPV) event in March. But if “The Predator” is still dealing with knee issues — or can’t make the numbers work for his Octagon return — then Jones will likely pair off with No. 3-ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes.
Former heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic remains MIA.
Ngannou, 36, is the odds-on betting favorite for a potential Jones clash, clocking in at -150 (2/3) against +130 (13/10) for “Bones,” according to BetOnline.ag. “That said, Jones, 35, remains a healthy favorite over the 31 year-old Blaydes, opening at -260 (5/13) against +220 (11/5) for “Razor.” Ngannou is also favored to beat Blaydes, something he’s already done twice in his UFC career.
“Not sure how legit this is but if this fight happens I’ll be ready for five rounds of war,” Blaydes wrote on social media.
No question Blaydes is a worthy contender and would present a formidable challenge, I just find it hard to believe Jones would wait more than two years to make his heavyweight debut against an opponent not named Ngannou or Miocic. “Razor” is a high-risk, low-reward fight for “Bones” and victory would not get Jones any closer to the belt than he already is.
I guess we’ll find out over the next few months ... stay tuned.