UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones dived deeper into the failed negotiations between him and the promotion.
Jones and Ngannou have been angling for a heavyweight super fight in recent days as negotiations seemingly went underway on Thursday. However, they came to an abrupt end after the UFC refused to give Jones a pay increase to move up.
And for Jones, he felt nothing other than shock at what he believes is a missed opportunity.
“Honestly, I’m just in a spot where I’m shocked,” Jones said in an interview with John Morgan. “I feel like the UFC have told me and my management team for years that if I ever wanted to reach a certain level in the sport and really get to a certain level of pay, that I had to take the really big fights, and I had to kind of step out of my comfort zone and be willing to take those megafights – and specifically, the heavyweight division.
“The UFC clearly told me that they would redo my contract the day I went heavyweight, and it would be a different deal, so I’ve always held that in my back pocket, that my goal is to fight at light heavyweight for a long time until I got to a place that I’ve got nothing else to prove, and then retire as a heavyweight with some real big fights – risk putting it all on the line against these guys that could cause some serious damage. Thursday, I found out that that’s just simply not happening, and it’s upsetting. I feel like someone’s put a little bit of a limit on my ceiling.”
Jones: Everyone Wants To See Me Take This Risk
Jones went on to add that he didn’t ask for too much money. In fact, money wasn’t even discussed in detail as UFC officials said no right off the bat. He doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the ongoing COVID-19 situation either.
So in essence, the UFC doesn’t believe a potential fight with Ngannou is worth more than a potential title defense against Jan Blachowicz — something “Bones” finds insulting to say the least, especially given the risks he would be taking.
“We’d never had a serious talk about heavyweight, but in the few times that we had, they made it clear to me that when I’m ready to go heavyweight, that’s when we can come back to the table and talk about paying me those life-changing fight numbers,” Jones said. “Let’s call it what it is: Jon Jones-Stipe Miocic? Superfight. Daniel Cormier? Superfight. Francis Ngannou is a superfight.
“Even if you didn’t want to change my contract, the fact that they didn’t want to sign me up for a one-fight deal to fight a guy that’s 40 pounds bigger than me, the scariest dude on the planet – Francis Ngannou, the guy that nobody wants to fight, I’m willing to fight him while being smaller than him, and you’re not going to pay me $1 more? You mean to tell me that this fight isn’t worth anything more than me stepping in against a Jan Blachowicz? It’s just insulting. Everyone would love to see me take this risk, and they offered me zero upside. They offered me absolutely zero upside.”
Jones notably tweeted that he would take some time away from the sport and that’s something he’s seriously considering after these negotiations.
“If this is how the UFC feels about me and that I’m really worth, and they don’t want to give me a piece of the pie in any way, then I don’t want to have to live by their schedule,” Jones added. “I feel like I don’t have to answer to them if this is how they’re going to treat me. I’m totally fine with them vacating the belt, letting someone else fight for the belt, and I’ll come around I guess when I’m ready to, and I’ll see if they’re willing to pay for a really big fight. But as of right now, to fight Jan Blachowicz, what do I have to gain there? To fight Dominick Reyes? Any one of them, I don’t have much to gain in these situations.
“As a partner, it was always very clear that my best days would be when I move to heavyweight, but now they just sh*t on all that, and I’m hurt, to be honest with you.”
What do you make of Jones’ comments?