Francis Ngannou will always regret not stepping inside the Octagon with current UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
After months of speculation and negotiations, Ngannou revealed on Tuesday that he had signed on the dotted line with the Professional Fighters League in a groundbreaking deal that will see him act as the chairman for the promotion’s PFL Africa expansion. In addition to a truckload of money, ‘The Predator’ will also be part of the PFL’s Fighter Advisory Board. Despite everything he’s earned, Ngannou still has one lingering regret.
Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones were thought to be one of the biggest potential fights in mixed martial arts history. The UFC worked tirelessly for more than a year to make the matchup happen, but it sadly never came to fruition. With Francis Ngannou now firmly parked across the street, it appears as though the dream match may never take place.
“I will always have a regret of not fighting Jon Jones,” Ngannou said on ESPN’s DC & RC. “I think you know, being in the sport, being in this position, what you want to do is to test yourself against somebody like Jon Jones, who stands as a GOAT of the sport.”
Francis Ngannou Hopeful That He Can Still One Day Face Jon Jones
Francis Ngannou is not giving up hope, suggesting that the bout may be able to happen as part of a cross-promotional event between the PFL and the UFC, though we wouldn’t suggest getting your hopes up.
“Still this day, I’m like, if ever there’s an opportunity to fight Jon Jones, we will do it,” Ngannou continued. “But I don’t know how. Maybe a cross-promotion? I don’t know. But Jon Jones is somebody that anyone that’s looking to make a legacy in this sport would like to fight.
“It’s like back in the day, everybody has to fight – when you’re the guy, it’s good to fight Fedor because he was out there doing his thing, and he was the guy and you couldn’t argue that. I think it’s the same thing right now. And I think it goes both ways, even for Jon Jones. Even for Jon Jones, this was a good fight to make a statement” (h/t MMA Junkie).
The Predator’ confirmed that his first appearance inside the Smart Cage won’t occur until 2024, but he aims to make his professional boxing debut in 2023 with names like Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder still in the mix.
On the other side of the street, Jon Jones will gear up for a clash with general consensus heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic later this year. The duo initially set their sights on a showdown as part of the promotion’s International Fight Week in July, but recent reports suggest a November meeting at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, is the goal.