When it comes to Jon Jones‘ eventual debut at heavyweight, a title fight is his primary objective. However, if Francis Ngannou is not the man holding the gold when he is ready to compete, then he knows Ciryl Gane would have cost him “a lot of money.”
Former light heavyweight king Jones (26-1) has been in the midst of his heavyweight transformation for well over a year. At times it seemed like a bout with current heavyweight champion Ngannou possible months ago, until the UFC and Jones’ representatives could not agree on a fair payout for the mega-fight.
Soon after, UFC President Dana White suggested the idea of a matchup between Jones and former two-time heavyweight titleholder Stipe Miocic was an option. Yet the fighters or those close to them shot down the promotional boss’s narrative spin. So the question is, what is Jones’ opponent preference when he begins his journey as a heavyweight? A title fight or a big name? For the 34-year-old, it’s one and the same.
Jon Jones knows he loses money fighting Ciryl Gane as opposed to Francis Ngannou
“Fighting for the title is what I want the most. I want the biggest fights. And I think the title fights are gonna be the biggest fights,” Jones told MMAJunkie on the red carpet for this years UFC Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony. “If there were someone that were a bigger star than Francis, who didn’t have the title then I would go for that. I think Francis is the biggest star at heavyweight and he has the title.”
Ngannou is expected to next face interim-heavyweight champion, Ciryl Gane, at some point early in 2022. The fight would be a unification bout pitting the two best heavyweights in the world. The unbeaten Frenchman has a legitimate chance at defeating Ngannou, and Jones is open to the idea of facing him. A man he has a great deal of respect for. However, if that fight were to happen, the New York native admits the paycheck he’d get would be far less than the one for a title fight against “The Predator.”
“I think it changes what the pay will be,” Jones said. “I don’t think it’s a mega fight [if] Ciryl Gane wins. He’s so talented, I think he’s great for the sport, he’s so marketable but he’s still relatively unknown to the general public. I’m excited for either challenge but I definitely think Francis is a bigger star, and it would be a lot of money lost if Francis were to lose. But I don’t care who wins the fight, I just want the championship.”
Jones will make his heavyweight debut as a much larger ‘Bones’ in 2022
The new UFC HOF inductee — for his 2013 championship bout classic against Alexander Gustafsson — expects to make his division debut in the second quarter of 2022, and when he does, he expects to be weighing north of 265-pounds on fight night. As he attempts to be the most dominant force at heavyweight.
“Right now I’m about 255, and I feel really great. My goal is to get up to 270-pounds. My goal is to be the most technical, the most well-conditioned, the strongest out of all the heavyweights,” he said. “That’s what I want. I want to take over all across the board and that’s what I’m going to continue working for. I’m very patient, and I know I have several more months of work to do, and if anyone is impressed with how I look today, I can’t wait until they see me get back in there.
Who would you rather see fight Jones in his debut? Ngannou or Gane?