Francis Ngannou not giving up on Jon Jones as first title defense


Despite Derrick Lewis being touted as the No. 1 contender, it seems Francis Ngannou would rather fight Jon Jones.

Newly crowned heavyweight champion Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is projected to run things back with Lewis later this year, but he’s still holding on to the hope that he’ll make his first title defense against Jones.

“I want Jon Jones,” Ngannou told TMZ while walking along Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Definitely. … I don’t care about what the talk says. I love that fight.”

UFC president Dana White declared Lewis the next title challenger after engaging in a public spat with Jones over pay. In order to smooth out negotiations, Jones acquired Richard Schaefer, former CEO of Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, as his advisor. But it appears nothing has come out of his meeting with White yet.

Still eyeing a fight with Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), Ngannou praised the former light heavyweight king, but said he “absolutely” sees himself knocking him out.

“I have some size, too,” Ngannou said. “I’m strong, too. I’m impressed (with his move to heavyweight). I know he’s very skilled, very talented. I respect that. But we are both men, and we’re going to find out.”

Ngannou recently expressed frustration over fighter pay himself, questioning what MMA fighters were doing wrong after Logan Paul reportedly made $20 million to box Floyd Mayweather. While Ngannou vs. Lewis 2 is not official yet, Jones recently said he may not return until next year.


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