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Coach gives ‘50-50’ chance for Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones, but March is ‘cutting it a little bit short’

UFC 281: Hooker v Puelles Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Is 2023 finally the year Jon Jones debuts at Heavyweight? The vast majority of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community sure hopes so.

Current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight kingpin, Francis Ngannou, is the logical welcoming committee for the all-time great. Unfortunately, injury and contract negotiations have stalled the possibility of seeing such a huge fight come to fruition sooner.

Ngannou is healthier than he’s been since recovering from his knee surgery and his coach at Xtreme Couture, Eric Nicksick, believes the targeted March return is possible, just not ideal.

“I think it’s 50-50, to be honest with you, when you’re talking business and timeline,” Nicksick told MMA Fighting. “I’m confident from what I saw from Francis a couple of weeks ago that if we had to be ready for March, I think we can get him ready, but I think it is cutting it a little bit short because he had to go back home and renew his visa.

“And then obviously they still haven’t announced anything yet with his contract and where they’re at, so 50-50 for me,” he continued. “I’m hoping for this thing, fingers crossed that we can get this deal done. If it’s not March, maybe it’s April or May, or something like that. I do know that they’re shooting for March and that Jon Jones is the opponent. Everything else is out of my hands, but if they tell me, ‘Hey, we’re fighting March 4,’ we’ll have our guy ready, that’s for sure.”

While there’s been no significant movement on the match up, Jones has continued to post photos of his large physique on social media. Meanwhile, former interim champion, Ciryl Gane, has called for the bout should Ngannou not come to an agreement with the promotion.

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