Jon Jones looked ‘a little bit nervous’ during face-off with Ngannou

According to Francis Ngannou's manager Marquel Martin, UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones looked 'nervous' during the PFL face-off.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 2 months ago

After years of back-and-forths on social media and interviews, UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones finally went face-to-face. It happened during a PFL event in mid-June, where “Bones” was on corner duties for fellow Jackson-Wink fighter Maurice Greene. 

Based on body language judgment, Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin says Jones looked a bit perturbed during the encounter. 

PFL President Ray Sefo stands between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou during PFL Atlanta 5 on June 16, 2023 at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta USA - ZUMAp175 20230617_zsa_p175_004 Copyright: xAaronxLitzx
PFL President Ray Sefo stands between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou during PFL Atlanta 5 on June 16, 2023 at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia | IMAGO

Jon Jones looked ‘nervous’ during Ngannou face-off

In his recent appearance on the MMA Hour, Martin spoke about the face-to-face between his client and the UFC’s current top pound-for-pound fighter. 

“I’m telling you, Jon Jones understood that right away. That’s why they do those faceoffs, right? They size each other up and everything. Man, I’m a big fan of Jon Jones, but you can tell that he was like, ‘OK, this is a different beast that I’m touching.’ 

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“And Francis and I talked afterwards, we both think [Jones] was a little bit nervous. He was a little bit nervous. Oh yeah, I’m telling you.”

Martin clarified that what he perceived to be Jones’ demeanor wasn’t out of fear. 

“Not like a scared thing or whatever,” he said. “But it was… you had to be there to really understand — there was respect, mutual respect, but as competitors, it’s like, ‘Oh, maybe this wouldn’t be an easy fight like a Ciryl Gane,’ from Jon Jones. 

“That’s what I got. If I’m trying to read [Jones’] mind, he knew good and well this would not be that kind of fight.”

Martin still hopes for an Ngannou-Jon Jones clash

A few months Ngannou left the UFC in January, Dana White promised one thing: “The Predator” will never fight in the organization again. 

“We negotiated with him for years,” White said of Ngannou. “It’s over, that’s over. He’ll never be in the UFC again. 

“I never say never, but I’ll give you a never on that one. We tried.”

Martin had his fair share of rifts with White, but he’s hoping that the UFC boss would have a change of heart. 

“I think that timing was just interesting, that obviously [Jones] was cornering Maurice Greene and obviously PFL is going to have us out.

But just being there, it almost felt like a tease for me, just sitting there. It was like, ah, this is what we’ve talked about, this is what we wanted, this is what we asked for. 

“We literally tried to get that fight for three years. Three years. I think it’s still a possibility. I know that sometimes maybe cooler heads prevail. I’m hoping that Dana [White] somehow sees this, we want to make that fight.”

What’s in store for Jones and Ngannou

With Ngannou out of the UFC, he’s now free to explore other options, even outside the MMA cage. For one, he finally got his wish in the form of a high-profile boxing match with Tyson Fury. 

The fight will take place on October 28th in Saudi Arabia. And while Fury’s WBC title won’t be on the line, the fight results will reflect on their respective professional records. Ngannou hasn’t fought since January 2022, his first and only title defense of the UFC heavyweight belt against Ciryl Gane. He won via decision. 

As for Jon Jones, his last bout took place in March, when he made quick work of Gane to win the vacant title due to Ngannou’s departure. Likewise, his first title defense was made official for UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden in November, where he takes on former champion Stipe Miocic.

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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