01 Jan Dana White: Jon Jones can fight for heavyweight title but only after Francis Ngannou
Jon Jones can become an immediate challenger to the UFC heavyweight title but only after Francis Ngannou gets his title shot.
That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who confirmed Jones’ plans to move up to a new weight class now that he’s vacated his 205-pound title.
Earlier this week, Jones announced that he was relinquishing his light heavyweight champion before adding plans to test the waters at heavyweight after speaking to the UFC about his future. Jones was the longest reigning light heavyweight champion in the history of the promotion with many calling him the greatest fighter to ever compete in the sport.
White agrees with that assessment, which is why he’s completely on board with Jones skipping the line to fight for the heavyweight title but not before the ferocious knockout artist from Cameroon gets his second opportunity to win UFC gold.
“[Jon Jones is] the longtime light heavyweight champion. In my opinion, he’s the greatest of all time, and if he wants to come back and take a shot at the heavyweight championship, I wouldn’t have a problem with that,” White told ESPN on Tuesday “But he can’t just jump in front of Ngannou right now.”
Jones has said publicly that he’s going to begin adding muscle and preparing his body for a fight at heavyweight but there’s no time table for his first appearance in the division.
Reigning champion Stipe Miocic just fought this past weekend in a five-round battle against Daniel Cormier, which closed out their trilogy.
Miocic already holds a dominant win over Ngannou from their previous meeting but since that time “The Predator” has rattled off four straight knockout victories with wins over Curtis Blaydes, Junior Dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Cain Velasquez.
Ngannou spent less than three minutes of total time in the cage with those four opponents.
That’s more than enough to solidify Ngannou as the No. 1 contender at heavyweight and White is not allowing anyone to jump ahead of him.
As for Jones’ future, White believes the former champion is focusing on outside endeavors right now but they will eventually sit down to discuss his debut as heavyweight.
“[Ngannou vs. Miocic is] definitely the fight that’s going to happen at heavyweight now,” White said. “Francis Ngannou has earned that title shot. Then we’ll see what happens.
“We have the top 4-5 [heavyweights] laid out for fights coming up in the fall. So we’ll see when Jon Jones’ timing is to come back and who makes sense for him.”