Jon Jones reveals he was relieved to not face Ngannou in his heavyweight debut

In a surprising turn of events, Jon Jones, the reigning heavyweight champion, has revealed his lack of enthusiasm for potential match ups against emerging contenders Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich. Instead, Jones expressed his eagerness to face former champion and promotional veteran Francis Ngannou in his UFC return.

Jones, a former two-time undisputed light heavyweight champion who now holds the heavyweight title, recently headlined UFC 285 in March. He secured his spot as the division’s champion by submitting Ciryl Gane with a first-round guillotine.

Scheduled to make his return to the Octagon at UFC 295 in November at Madison Square Garden, Jones is set to defend his title against two-time former champion Stipe Miocic.

Addressing the topic of his failed fight with Francis Ngannou, Jones explained, “Tom Aspinall, I think he really has the potential to do something really special in the heavyweight division. I think he’s going to be hard for the majority of guys to beat. I really do believe that.”

However, Jones clarified the circumstances surrounding his return and Ngannou’s status. He stated, “The narrative switched somehow and everyone is saying that I waited three years and I came back exactly when Francis (Ngannou) was gone. That’s actually not true. When I got back, Francis was very much on the roster still, and I could have been his last fight. But instead, he opted out, and Ciryl Gane took Francis’ spot. I came back ready for Francis Ngannou, for sure.”

Despite this readiness, Jones did admit that facing Ciryl Gane instead of Francis Ngannou had its benefits. He expressed, “I’m not going to lie though, knowing I was fighting Ciryl Gane instead of Francis was kind of nice.”

As for Francis Ngannou, the formidable knockout artist is set to make his professional boxing debut against incumbent WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in October, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Fans are left wondering whether a long-anticipated matchup between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou will finally come to fruition. The intrigue continues to build as both fighters hold significant stature in the world of combat sports.