Francis Ngannou is sticking to his guns.
The current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight kingpin has been sidelined since the start of 2022. Successfully earning his first career title defense against Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (watch highlights), Ngannou entered the bout with some ligament damage to his knee and it only worsened throughout the five-round war.
Ngannou is closing in on being fully recovered as Dec. 2022 rapidly approaches. Ultimately, former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, is the fight to make for “The Predator” and he’s up for the challenge ... as long as his contract gets sorted properly.
“Well, this is the plan [to fight Jones in March 2023], but when you make a plan, you have to go step-by-step,” Ngannou told Combate. “Let’s settle the contract first. It is still pending [the renewal of contract with the UFC]. We’re still working on it. We’re not finished yet. I’ve always wanted to stay in the UFC. I just want things the right way. I just want a better [contract] structure to have a better future. I’m excited. I’m excited to get back to the Octagon, but in good condition, with a good structure. It would be a good money fight. But there are many money fights. They can have many money fights.
“I have to be [allowed to fight boxing on my next contract],” he concluded. “It’s my decision, whether they like it or not. I want to box. I’m going to box because I’m free and I decide what I’m going to do in the future.”
Jones will have been inactive for a full three years come Feb. 2023. “Bones” last fought against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 (watch highlights), defending his 205-pound strap via unanimous decision. Hopes of a long-awaited Heavyweight debut led Jones to vacate his title and he’s been bulking up and preparing for what has yet to come.