UFC matchmakers tried to put together a fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou for nearly two years. Ngannou was the heavyweight champion at the time and Jones was looking to return for a championship bout.
The fight promotion was unable to reach a deal with Ngannou and left the organization. Jones returned and faced Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 and won the vacant heavyweight title. Ngannou spoke with TMZ Sports about the negotiations to face Jones.
“Look, I wanted that fight as well. I’m the one that initiated that fight over two years ago. I wanted that fight, but where was Jon Jones at that time? I don’t know. Nobody seems interested, even Dana White. Nobody seems to be interested. They always find a way to go around it,” said Ngannou.
“Today, it’s not about that fight, it’s not that they wanted to give me that fight, it’s the price it was going to cost me to get that fight. I chased that fight for as long as I could and, listen, I learned in life that you have to let it go. You have to let things go, otherwise, they’ll cut your hand and take your hand away. I wanted that fight so bad, and I couldn’t have it at any cost. That’s what I will always say.”
Ngannou isn’t closing the door on an eventual return to the UFC, but admitted that the situation has turned personal.
“I’ve tried to manage this as gentle as I could,“ he said. “I did everything in my power in order to move forward, and it didn’t work. I’ll never close the door, but now, it’s not something we can discuss [right now] because it has become very personal. I’ve just been listening to them talk about it. They’re upset, there’s a lot of anger out there, but I’m good.”
(Quotes from MMAFighting)