Francis Ngannou denies avoiding Jon Jones fight before UFC exit: ‘Where was he at the time?’

Francis Ngannou UFC Dana White Jon Jones

Former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou has denied claims from Dana White that he avoided a fight with recently minted champion, Jon Jones – questioning where the former light heavyweight champion was when he won heavyweight gold in 2021.

Ngannou, a former undisputed heavyweight champion under the UFC banner, departed the organization back in January of this year, following the completion of his contractual obligations with the promotion back in December of last year.

As for Jones the former Jackson-Wink MMA staple made his Octagon return earlier this month following a three-year hiatus from the sport, defeating common-foe, Ciryl Gane to become the new undisputed heavyweight champion. 

In the immediate aftermath, Jones welcomed the opportunity to fight former two-time undisputed heavyweight kingpin, Stipe Miocic later this year – with a potential landing at UFC 290 during International Fight Week floated by the promotion initially. 

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Discussing Jones’ title victory – White, who claimed that the Endicott native should consider moving to middleweight rather than heavyweight off the back of Francis Ngannou’s own title win back in 2021, claimed that the Cameroonian native had no interest in fighting Jones. And would likely suffer a similar fate as Gane if he fought the pound-for-pound number one at UFC 285

Francis Ngannou denies claims from Dana White that he avoided a fight with Jon Jones

Refuting those claims from UFC leader, White, Ngannou pointed to the fact that he wanted to fight Jones immediately following is UFC 260 knockout win over Miocic, however, claimed the new division kingpin was nowhere to be found amid a fallout with the UFC over his contract.

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“Look, I wanted that fight as well, I’m the one who initiated that fight over two years ago,” Francis Ngannou told TMZ during a recent interview. “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 (the UFC) always find a way to go around it.”

“Today, it’s not about that fight [with Jon Jones], it’s not that they wanted to give 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 head 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.” 

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Expected to make his return to combat sports in the squared circle, Francis Ngannou revealed recently that he held discussions about a potential Africa showcase opposite former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder.