Jon Jones took offense when Ariel Helwani used his name in a conversation with Francis Ngannou on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour.
Fresh from his remarkable boxing debut against Tyson Fury in Riyadh, Francis Ngannou joined Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour.’
They delved into Ngannou’s loss to Tyson Fury and speculated about his future outside the UFC. Amidst the conversation, Helwani queried if Ngannou had a message for his critics. Helwani singled out UFC CEO Dana White and the current heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Helwani stated: “And Jon Jones, too, was saying you were looking – and look at you now, right? A lot of people were throwing stones your way. It wasn’t just Dana. I know he gets a lot of the attention, but a lot of people weren’t backing you. Fighters weren’t backing you and that, to me, was the part that bothered me the most.”
Helwani never quite got to the end of his comment about Jon Jones, but it was more than enough to get the attention of Jones. He responded harshly to the host of MMA Hour.
Jones wrote in response to the clip: “And Jon Jones says you were looking what? You’re such a backstabbing s**t talker bro and you wonder why I haven’t given you an interview in years @arielhelwani”
Helwani swiftly referred to a 2023 interview with RMC Sport where Jones insinuated that Ngannou wasn’t willing to bet on himself by turning down the UFC’s record-breaking offer, thus obstructing a long-anticipated clash.
Jones defended himself, stating: “I don’t think I deserve any criticism. I’m here. I’m here. Francis had the opportunity to face me and he opted out of the opportunity. If anyone should be criticized, it’s Francis Ngannou.”
“If I’m correct, he was offered the biggest contract in heavyweight history. He had the opportunity to be a guy to dethrone me. He didn’t believe in himself. Francis didn’t believe in himself. He wasn’t willing to gamble on himself.”
In a subsequent post, Jones praised Ngannou’s performance against Tyson Fury. He said: “I thought he did great, I’m glad the fight was competitive. Opens so many doors for everyone in the future.”
Before finalising the match with Ngannou, Tyson Fury disclosed that the UFC had extended an offer for a match against Jon Jones under hybrid-rules. Maybe in the future, Jones and Fury may face off in a cage or ring.