UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou injured his knee ahead of his Ciryl Gane title defense at UFC 270 back in January and recently underwent surgery to repair the damage. As of this writing, “The Predator” is expected to be out of action until 2023.
That could prompt the promotion to create an interim title for the second time during his reign and at the top of the list for potential title challengers is none other than former light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones, who is expected to make his heavyweight debut in July.
“I haven’t thought about it but yeah, it sounds like something we would do,” White told ESPN about creating an interim title. “Not until we know what Francis is gonna do or what’s gonna happen, but if that’s the case, if he ends up sitting out for a year, Jon could come right in and fight for a title.”
Jones has not competed in over two years and surrendered his 205-pound strap back in summer 2020. Since then, “Bones” has continued to tease a jump to heavyweight — complete with training videos — but has yet to confirm an exact date or opponent.
Also at the top of the list is former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who has already been attached to a potential Jones fight in the past. There’s also Tai Tuivasa, currently ranked No. 3 at 265 pounds, so the promotion certainly has a couple of strong options.
We’ll find over the next few months, if not sooner.