UFC legend Jon Jones attacked potential superfight opponent Francis Ngannou, and has received a reply from the heavyweight champion. Elsewhere, MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz believes ‘misunderstood’ Jones is a ‘decent human being’.
Former light heavyweight king Jones, who has been out of action since a unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes in February 2020, is currently planning a move up to Ngannou’s division.
Addressing this on Twitter, Jones wrote that he “ran through the light heavyweight division on talent”, and is “about to run through the heavyweight division like dominoes off pure hard work”, in the first of a flurry of tweets on Friday.
His next correspondence was addressed directly to ‘The Predator’.
Ran through the light heavyweight division on talent, about to run through the heavyweight division like dominoes off pure hard work
— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 30, 2021
The greatest title in the world is coming back to the greatest country in the world.
— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 30, 2021
Tagging him directly, Jones demanded: “Motivate me more”.
In not just a cocky mood but also a patriotic one, Jones then declared: “The greatest title in the world is coming back to the greatest country in the world”.
Though this time he did not namedrop Ngannou, one last message was aimed at his rival and read: “If you think you are going to run through America, you are wrong”.
I shouldn’t have to motivate you Jonny…if it’s not in you already you’ve already lost. I know my motivation 🌍 https://t.co/YzPZgimlWR
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) April 30, 2021
Taking his time to reply, Ngannou eventually got back to Jones by pointing out that he “shouldn’t have to motivate you Jonny”.
“If it’s not in you already you’ve already lost,” Ngannou taunted.
“I know my motivation,” he signed off, with a globe emoji.
But if claims from White are valid, it is money that gets Jones out of bed into the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to train.
And currently, White alleges, he is asking for too much of it to face Ngannou in the octagon.
“We tried to work with Jon, and we eventually have to move on because realistically, and in all honesty, Derrick Lewis is the guy who deserves the fight,” began White on the Bill Simmons podcast last week, when asked who Ngannou will take on in his first title defense.
“Derrick Lewis is a heavyweight, he beat Francis Ngannou [already in 2018], he’s looked good in his last couple of fights, he’s ranked in the top three, I think, and he deserves the fight,” White revealed.
“That’s the fight that should happen. We’ll just roll and do what we do. When Jon’s ready, he’ll let us know.”
I never discussed wanting 30 million with you or Hunter @danawhite just wondering where you heard that number? Is someone speaking with you on my behalf or…
— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 23, 2021
Expanding further, White claimed Jones is “talking he wants $30 million guaranteed”.
“The way that this works is, these guys all share in the pay-per-view… He will share in the profits of the fight. That’s how it works. That’s how you run a business, and you don’t go broke,” he concluded.
Jones caught wind of this, and replied: “I never discussed wanting 30 million with you or [Chief Business Officer] Hunter [Campbell], Dana White.”
“Just wondering where you heard that number? Is someone speaking on my behalf or…,” Jones trailed off.
Elsewhere in the sport, manager Ali Abdelaziz continues his charm offensive on the free agent, after saying earlier this week that he was “flattered” and “honored” to have his name linked to representing Jones.
This time, to ESPN MMA, he defended the 33-year-old’s character by alleging that Jones is “misunderstood a lot” and is a “decent human being”.
“And I think he wears his emotion off his sleeve. But he’s fighting for himself, you know,” Abdelaziz continued.
“Listen, if [it’s] any advice I’ll give him [it’ll be]: ‘I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s hard, Jon. But listen to me. You are [a] legend. You are pound-for-pound one of the greatest ever. You should not have to go on Twitter to defend yourself, right?’”
“It’s actually making me sad, to see what he’s going through,” Abdelaziz admitted, on the failing Ngannou negotiations.
“Because, listen, all fighters deserve [it], if you give me 20 million, I want 30 million, if you give me 10 million, I want 70 million. That’s the name of the game.”
“Everybody wants more, Dana White wants more, I want more, the fighter want more, right?,” Abdelaziz asked.
“But it’s our job to meet in a very peaceful, respectful place. Of course, if somebody called me to help Jon, I help Jon, you understand,” he finished.