Jon Jones rips ‘baddest man on the planet’ Francis Ngannou, gets immediate clapback

Yeah, sure, Francis Ngannou got a massive new deal to fight for the PFL, but did anybody think of Jon Jones' feelings about it?

By: Zane Simon | 3 weeks ago
Jon Jones rips ‘baddest man on the planet’ Francis Ngannou, gets immediate clapback
Jon Jones talks to press after UFC 285. IMAGO / Sports Press Photo

The big headline for MMA this week is Francis Ngannou’s new massive contract deal with the PFL. The former UFC heavyweight champion split with the world’s largest MMA promotion earlier this year after prolonged contract negotiations broke down. For several months, fans and pundits wondered just where he would land, only for the Professional Fighters League to end up at the top of the list.

If anyone lost out on the deal, however, it seems to have been the current UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. Jones took over Ngannou’s vacated title in a bout against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 back in March. The UFC went through their own drawn-out battle of wills with the longtime king of the light heavyweight division, eventually luring him back to the Octagon after more than 3 years of self-imposed hiatus. It seems fights with Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou were part of that lure.

Jon Jones takes to Twitter with message for Francis Ngannou

With Ngannou now quite firmly ensconced with his new promotional home, the question becomes: Just how many more times Jones will set foot in the Octagon? The UFC is currently in the process of setting up his fight with Miocic, after which Jones has been teasing that he might just retire rather than face the next generation of up-and-comers.

It’s little wonder, then, that Jones saw news of Ngannou’s new contract as an opportunity to take a shot at the man he might have hoped would be his divisional rival.

If Jones had thought to send a definitive message to Ngannou that would get the Cameroonian-born Frenchman thinking twice about his PFL millions, he’ll be firmly disappointed. Ngannou’s response to ‘Bones’ was a swift takedown.

With the way things stand now, unfortunately, there’s more likelihood of Jones & Ngannou fighting for the UFC in 2030 than there is Jones fighting for PFL any time soon. The longtime Jackson-Wink talent hitched himself to an 8-fight deal back in January, to accompany his long awaited arrival in the heavyweight division. Fans would have to go all the way back to 2015 to get through the last eight bouts of Jones’ career.

What’s next?

At the moment, Jon Jones is targeting a fight against Stipe Miocic for a yet-to-be finalized UFC PPV event at Madison Square Garden, in New York City this coming November. Although much less public than Jones’ & Ngannou’s spats with the Endeavor-owned promotion, Miocic has been in the midst of his own negotiating battle with the UFC. Mostly, it seems his interest in continuing to compete is exclusively centered around fighting for the belt and nothing less.

The Ohio native hasn’t set foot inside the Octagon since 2021, when he lost his title to Francis Ngannou via second round knockout at UFC 260. In fact, Miocic has only competed four times since defeating Ngannou in their first pairing, way back in January of 2018, at UFC 220. That run included three bouts against Daniel Cormier, in the lead up to the rematch with the ‘Predator.’

For Ngannou, while it was initially hoped that he would return to MMA sometime in late 2023 for a fight inside the PFL cage, it sounds more like he’s now targeting a 2024 debut with his new promotional home. The 36-year-old will not be competing as part of the PFL’s season format, but will instead by exclusive to the promotion’s new ‘Superfight division’ that the company plans to air exclusively on PPV. Whether or not the ESPN+ based promotion can successfully pull off multiple-PPVs still remains to be seen.

In the meantime, it just might be that Ngannou gets to tackle his other dream and finds his way to the boxing ring before the year is out.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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