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UFC president Dana White continues to claim that Francis Ngannou did not want to fight Jon Jones

Written by on June 19, 2024

Nearly a year and a half after the UFC and Francis Ngannou agreed to part ways with Ngannou as the reigning heavyweight champion, neither side has changed their tune. UFC president Dana White is once again voicing his stance that Ngannou chose to leave the promotion to avoid a fight with Jon Jones, rather than Ngannou’s repeated claims that he left the promotion to pursue more control over his career.

Speaking with Shannon Sharpe on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast, White referenced the ease with which Jones dispatched Ciryl Gane to win the heavyweight championship after Ngannou’s departure as proof that Ngannou was running from the toughest challenge available.

“In my opinion, he does the same thing to Francis,” White said. “100 percent. He does the same thing to Francis. Francis didn’t want to fight Jon Jones. Jon Jones is the scariest, most bad-ass fighter of all time. Jon Jones has his issues outside of the Octagon, which actually makes it more impressive if you think about the lifestyle that he was living, and doing this to the best fighters in the world.

“Jon Jones is one of those guys that won’t truly be appreciated until he’s gone. But I’m telling you right now, when you talk about who the baddest man on the planet is, two guys get locked in a room, who is walking out? It’s f—ing Jon Jones all day, every time.”

White’s appreciation for Jones has wildly fluctuated based on where Jones stands with the promotion. During periods of tense negotiations, White has been far more dismissive of Jones’ standing and even how he would fare against Ngannou.

For Ngannou’s part, while the UFC offered him a reportedly record-breaking deal in early 2023 to stay with the company, other major Ngannou demands were not met, including waiving the UFC’s extension, exclusive negotiating window and contract-matching clauses.

“In that contract, I’m not free,” Ngannou said on “The MMA Hour” in January 2023. “In that contract, I’m not an independent contractor. In that contract, I have no rights, I have no power. I hand over all the power to you guys, and I’ve seen in the past how you can utilize that power.”

Ngannou went on to sign with the PFL, where he has yet to compete. He has, however, had two massively lucrative boxing matches, nearly upsetting Tyson Fury before losing by split decision and being knocked out by Anthony Joshua.

The post UFC president Dana White continues to claim that Francis Ngannou did not want to fight Jon Jones first appeared on CBS Sports.


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