Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who once ruled the promotion’s pound-for-pound chart, has not competed for nearly two years after surrendering his 205-pound title. Fortunately for UFC fans, “Bones” is expected to make good on his promise to move up to heavyweight later this year, with former champion Stipe Miocic leading the list of potential opponents.
“He knows Francis isn’t going to be back anytime soon,” Bisping said on YouTube. “He had ACL surgery, he’s gonna be out for awhile. If that’s the case, what he’s doing, he’s hyping up Stipe Miocic. He’s hyping him up saying this is a tougher fight. He’ll be getting a nice cut of the pay-per-view, so you wanna hype it up, you wanna make it seem like the toughest match available. You don’t wanna say ‘Oh, I wanted to fight Ngannou but he wasn’t available so I’m fighting this guy.’ No, you make it sound like that’s the top guy. You make it sound like that’s the tougher challenge. You make it sound like you wanna go out there and have the toughest fight possible and that’s what he’s doing here.”
On paper, it makes more sense to wait for current 265-pound kingpin Francis Ngannou to return in late December or early 2023 since Jones has already waited this long, leading to speculation that he’s either broke, impatient, or flat-out terrified of facing a murderous power puncher like “The Predator.”
Why else pass on an immediate title shot?
“People will say that he is terrified of Francis Ngannou,” Bisping continued. “Because the critic would say, ‘Well what are you talking about? How can Stipe Miocic ever have more to offer than Francis Ngannou?’ Because Francis Ngannou is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and that’s true. And one dimensional? Maybe. But so what, that one dimension will knock you into another dimension. It will. It’s scary, it’s ridiculous, and one shot is all it takes. Francis Ngannou doesn't even need to land flush. I think one of the only times he landed flush was when he nearly decapitated Alistair Overeem. But the reality is, I don’t think he’s fighting anytime soon.”
The promotion is expected to make a decision over the next few weeks, if not sooner.