Francis Ngannou won the UFC heavyweight title in March with a decisive KO win over Stipe Miocic. The win was revenge for Ngannou, who was soundly beat by Miocic the first time they met back in 2018.
As soon as he was crowned champ Ngannou had his next match-up on his mind. Both he and former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones seemed to agree that a fight between them would be the biggest spectacle the Octagon could host this year or next.
However, the UFC had other ideas. The promotion balked at the idea, because both Ngannou and Jones were steadfast in their opinions that such a fight would require a bump up in pay.
Instead of making that fight happen, the UFC set-up an interim heavyweight title clash between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane. Gane, a former training partner of Ngannou, won the bout.
With Ngannou facing the possibility of being stripped for rejecting a unification bout with Gane, the Cameroonian accepted the fight and is now scheduled to appear at UFC 270 in January.
Jones’ plan of transitioning to the UFC’s heavyweight division, which was already sidetracked by his pay requests, faces possible derailment after he was arrested for domestic violence in September.
Police claim Jones caused his fiancee to sport a bloody and swollen lip. He is also accused of injuring a police car by headbutting it. Prosecutors in Las Vegas are currently deliberating over whether to pursue criminal charges against Jones.
With another out-of-the-cage incident overshadowing his athletic career Jones has sworn off alcohol, refuted claims he hit his partner, and been forced to move gyms. Despite all this he claims he is still on track to compete in the Octagon in 2022.
However, Ngannou isn’t too sure. He’s not that interested, either.
“Personally I don’t really care about that anymore,” said Ngannou in an interview with MMA Junkie. “There is a lot of talk about Jon Jones. He says a lot of things, yet we are still here. I wasn’t even expecting to fight someone other than Jon Jones after the Stipe fight, but here I am. It’s almost 10 months away, I’m going to fight Ciryl Gane which wasn’t in the picture, in the landscape at that moment at all.”
“What Jon Jones says and what Jon Jones does is two different things and I can’t bet on that,” Ngannou continued. “I can’t put my money on that. I just do what I’m going to do and we don’t know what the future holds for us. It’s not something that I’m running against anymore.”
UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane is scheduled for January 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. The co-main event is slated to be the trilogy fight between UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and former champ Deiveson Figueiredo.
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