A possible heavyweight title match between champion Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones could be placed on the backburner after UFC president Dana White scoffed at Jones’ $30 million asking price.
White said the demands will likely result in Derrick Lewis (25-7) being the opponent for Ngannou’s first title defense since winning the crown.
“We tried to work with Jon, and we eventually have to move on because realistically, and in all honesty, Derrick Lewis is the guy who deserves the fight,” White said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “Derrick Lewis is a heavyweight, he beat Francis Ngannou, he’s looked good in his last couple of fights, he’s ranked in the top three, I think, and he deserves the fight. That’s the fight that should happen. We’ll just roll and do what we do. When Jon’s ready, he’ll let us know.”
Jones (26-1) is moving up to heavyweight after a successful run as a light heavyweight. He hasn’t fought in the past 14 months while reportedly being embroiled in a pay dispute with White.
Ngannou (16-3) won the title by knocking out Stipe Miocic on March 27 in UFC 260. His most recent loss came against Lewis on July 7, 2018 when the latter won by unanimous decision.
A rematch between the pair won’t be the blockbuster bout that a Ngannou-Jones matchup would be.
–Field Level Media