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Jon Jones reveals it was ‘kind of nice’ to fight Ciryl Gane over ‘scary joker’ Francis Ngannou

UFC 285: Shevchenko v Grasso Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jon Jones is arguably the baddest man on the planet and unlikely to be scared of any matchup, but the former UFC light heavyweight champion was a little relieved to fight Ciryl Gane over Francis Ngannou for his heavyweight debut this past March.

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The feud between Jones and Ngannou is well documented. The two fighters first started discussing a potential collision at heavyweight years ago. Jones took some time off to get his body into heavyweight form, but when he returned Ngannou ended up departing UFC due to a contract dispute. The long-awaited matchup was put on ice and Gane stepped in to welcome Jones to the heavyweight division at UFC 285. Jones ended up winning that matchup via first-round submission to claim the vacant UFC heavyweight title.

While Jones was disappointed at the missed opportunity to fight Ngannou and determine the true heavyweight king of the world he was happy to step in against someone like Gane. After all, Gane is fairly one-dimensional and doesn’t even come close to possessing the same stopping power as “Predator.” Jones would have gladly fought Ngannou, but he enjoyed the less-dangerous challenge.

“The funny thing is, the narrative switched,” Jones said on the OverDogs podcast (h/t MMA Fighting). “The narrative switched somehow and people are saying that I waited three years and I came back exactly when Francis was gone. That’s actually not true. When I got back, Francis was very much on the roster still and I could have been his last fight, but instead he opted out and Ciryl Gane took Francis’ spot. I came back ready for Francis Ngannou, for sure.

“I’m not going to lie though, knowing that I was fighting Ciryl Gane instead of Francis was kind of nice. [Laughs]. Francis is a scary joker.”

Fight fans may have missed out on a chance to see the Jones vs. Ngannou matchup, but at least “Predator” is doing well for himself outside of UFC. The former heavyweight champion signed a super lucrative deal with Professional Fighters League (PFL) and is currently scheduled to make his professional boxing debut against Tyson Fury this October.

It’s incredible to see what Ngannou has accomplished outside of UFC, but Jones believes he’s ultimately giving up on legacy in favor of fortune.

“I’m happy for all these guys and being able to take care of their families,” Jones said. “I’m actually really proud of the PFL and Bellator for being a competitor of the UFC. I mean that as a UFC employee. I love the UFC, they changed my life. But it’s good to see options. Options are important for all of us to have, no matter what business you’re in, what walk of life. I’m really, really proud of those guys. But if you want to consider yourself truly the best in the world at this sport, you can’t do it if you’re not in the UFC, no matter how dominant you are in other organizations. No disrespect to him [but] I’ve seen guys like Michael Chandler, who was such a standout, become more average in the UFC. The UFC is the pinnacle.”

What do you think, fight fans? Did Jones get the easy road fighting Gane in his heavyweight debut over Ngannou? Or would the results have been the same?

Sound off!

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