In the dynamic landscape of the heavyweight division, enthusiasts yearned for a clash that never came to fruition – the much-anticipated showdown between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. Regrettably, the likelihood of witnessing this epic encounter has dwindled to near certainty due to Ngannou's departure from the UFC, coupled with Dana White's reluctance to entertain co-promotion possibilities with the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
Reflecting on what could have been, Ngannou recently disclosed that the stumbling block preventing the Jones-Ngannou spectacle was none other than the UFC itself. In a revelation that sheds light on the behind-the-scenes negotiations, Ngannou shared insights on the roadblocks encountered in making the fight happen.
Recalling negotiations from three years ago, Ngannou explained, "First of all, when I was still there, Jones took a break. We were still negotiating three years ago, and I asked for this match after I beat Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
I was pushing this match hard because I knew the UFC was going to put on a trilogy between Miocic and Cormier, so I wanted Jon Jones. But they didn't want to talk." Ngannou's narrative unraveled the mutual desire for the matchup between him and Jones.
He emphasized that both fighters were keen on the bout, laying the blame squarely on the UFC for obstructing the path to this blockbuster event. "I think at that time, we were both looking for this match. But they use this to control the narrative on both sides.
I was told that Jon Jones did not want this match, and he was told the same. The UFC is responsible that this fight never happened," he added. The disappointment lingers, as the dream clash remains confined to the realms of speculation.
With Ngannou's departure and Jones potentially facing Stipe Miocic in what could be his final bout, the curtains seem to be closing on the possibility of the Jones-Ngannou spectacle, leaving fight fans to reminisce about the fight that never was, resigned to the reality that it may never come to pass.