Jones’ highly anticipated move to the heavyweight division has been put on hold thanks to a vicious pay dispute.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Jones has demanded more than $10million for a fight with ‘The Predator’.
Calling his bluff, the UFC have brushed the former light heavyweight kingpin to the side in favour of Derrick Lewis. Lewis infamously defeated Ngannou via unanimous decision in one of the slowest fights in the sport’s history. The new UFC heavyweight champion will now be looking to even the score later this year.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani recently took to Twitter to explain the situation, posting: “UFC has kicked the tires on Francis Ngannou x Derrick Lewis on June 12, sources say.
“However the timing doesn’t work for Ngannou (and I don’t blame him; he just won the belt).
“Bigger story here, IMO, is, at least for now, they don’t seem keen on waiting around for Jones.”
He further stated: “Since 6/12, at least for now, doesn’t viable, do they revisit Jones? Maybe.
“But Lewis is ready, willing and able. Wouldn’t be surprised if they just try to book that rematch for sometime later in the summer/fall.
“Doesn’t look like they are willing to meet Jones’ price right now.”
Jon Jones’ striking coach Mike Winkeljon recently weighed in on the situation during an interview for Submission Radio: “I think this fight can be easily as [big as] some of the big Mayweather fights out there.
“What did Floyd Mayweather make? A hundred million.
“I don’t know. You know, that type of thing. [Mayweather] was kind of his own promoter.
“So, Jon’s gotta share that with the UFC as far as on pay-per-view buys. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a $50 million fight.
“And the UFC still makes bank, and is able to pay off a lot of the debt they have and go forward.”
Jones has recently demanded that the UFC release him from his contract if they are not ready to pay him what he feels he is worth.
Venting his frustrations on Twitter, Jones wrote: “Please just cut me already.
“You would rather have me around and treat me like s***.
“I swear the UFC industry has been nothing but depressing for me. I feel like my wings are being clipped.
“What type of weird s*** is this, obviously the boss hates me. Let me take my business elsewhere.”
With more than a year of inactivity now, Jones remains steadfast in his refusal to fight for anything less than his demands. He recently explained his thoughts behind the decision and belief that fighters earn far less than they deserve for the money they bring in.
“Everyone knows fighters don’t make anything close to what they actually bring in when they fight.
“I really don’t see what the big deal is paying your main event for one of the biggest possible fights ever.
“It’s not like I’ll be asking for my actual fair share.
“I just want respectable numbers, so that I don’t feel like a fool entering the biggest fight of my life.”
For now, an Ngannou vs Lewis title fight is the one to watch.