Jon Jones says Francis Ngannou opted out of opportunity to fight him: ‘He didn’t believe in himself’
John Jones speaks Francis Ngannou is to blame for the fact that their fight did not take place.
Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) was gearing up to fight Ngannou for the heavyweight title, but Ngannou parted ways with UFC after they failed to agree on a new contract.
Dana White told Ngannou refused the largest contract in UFC heavyweight history, and Jones is questioning his decision not to risk himself.
“I don’t think I deserve any criticism,” Jones said. RMC Sport. “I’m here. Francis had the opportunity to meet me, and he turned the opportunity down. If anyone should be criticized, it’s Francis Ngannou. If I’m right, he was offered the biggest contract in heavyweight history. He had the opportunity to be a guy who dethroned me. He didn’t believe in himself. Francis didn’t believe in himself. He didn’t want to risk himself.”
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Instead, Jones will take on former interim champion Cyril Gein (10-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) for the vacant heavyweight belt in the UFC 285 headlining event on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He will not fight the undisputed champion, but Jones does not rule out a future fight with Ngannou.
“I felt sorry for the fans. I know it would be a huge fight for the fans,” Jones said. “People from all over the world would like to see this event. And I don’t discount it – I could see Francis walking around and fighting in boxing and doing everything he’s going to do. I think he will always be happy to return to the UFC. It’s always going to be a big, big fight and I’ll be ready for it.”
To learn more about the card, visit the MMA Junkie event center to UFC 285.