Francis Ngannou wants Jon Jones next – and has no urge for Stipe Miocic trilogy
LAS VEGAS – Francis Ngannou just won the UFC heavyweight championship, but the conversation has already begun as to who his first title defense should come against.
At UFC 260 on Saturday, Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) beat Stipe Miocic by second-round knockout to win the title. Within moments, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is preparing for a move to heavyweight, sent out a barrage of tweets that angled for the fight.
The feeling is mutual, according to Ngannou, who named Jones as the top option on his list of potential next matchups.
“Obviously, Jon Jones makes more sense for me,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie at a post-fight news conference. “Either way, I’m going to fight. If Jon Jones doesn’t come to heavyweight, the division has to move. As the new heavyweight champion, I decided to move on (and) put more activity in the division than it has in the past two or three years.”
On Thursday, UFC president Dana White mentioned at a pre-fight press conference that it would be difficult to deny Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC) a third fight with Ngannou if he lost the title at UFC 260. Even though the series is 1-1, starting with Miocic’s January 2018 decision win over Ngannou, Ngannou said he has no urge for a third fight so soon.
“Personally, no, I don’t feel a need (right now),” Ngannou said. “He said I won’t be a champion until he’s retired, so maybe he’ll retire. But if not, I’ll still be down to fight him. I lost against him and he stands as the greatest heavyweight of all time, so it makes sense for me just to fight him if needed.”
Regardless of his next matchup, Ngannou vowed not to be a champion who holds up the division. It’s an issue that hits home with him. Over the past few years, Ngannou has encountered long delays in fight bookings due to poor divisional flow.
“I never asked (for) less (fights),” Ngannou said. “I always asked to be active. I hope with the belt now, I’m going to be more active. I’m going to be able to do two or three fights a year. That’s my intention moving forward.”
UFC 260 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card streamed on ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.