UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou was expected to make his first title defense against former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but it appears that has fallen through and Derrick Lewis will get the next shot at the belt.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, UFC president Dana White was asked what was next for Ngannou and quickly alluded to a re-match with “The Black Beast”.
“At the end of the day, Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis is the fight to make,” White said. “Lewis has earned this, and their first fight wasn’t what everyone expected. It can’t go bad twice.”
Ngannou and Lewis last battled at UFC 226 in Las Vegas, in one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year that unfortunately didn’t live up to the hype. Both fighters appeared very passive in their striking, and Lewis was ultimately awarded with the decision win.
Ngannou earned the belt by knocking out longtime heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, and Lewis is on a four-fight win streak and knocked out Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night just two months ago.
Both fighters are considered to be two of the hardest hitting men in UFC history, and knockouts are plentiful during both of their careers.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Lewis spoke about a possible rematch with Ngannou.
“We gotta do a rematch, me and Francis, we gotta do a rematch,” Lewis said. “We got to because I had back problems and I wasn’t training the way I was supposed to for that fight.”
As for Jones, it’s unclear what the state of negotiations are between the UFC and “Bones”. The two sides have been at an impasse over Jones wanting more money to move up in weight.
While a possible matchup between Ngannou and Jones is still up in the air for the future, it appears that the promotion is moving on for now.
What do you think about a possible rematch between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis? Do you think that their second fight will be different than the first?