So why didn’t these two meet in a heavyweight clash for the ages? Ngannou believes the responsibility falls back on the UFC rather than trying to place blame at his feet, or Jones for that matter.
“First of all, when I was around, Jon Jones wasn’t around,” Ngannou said on The Last Stand podcast. “Even three years before, we were negotiating. I was asking for this fight after I fought Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
“I was pushing so hard for Jon Jones because I knew the UFC was going to make [Daniel Cormier] and Stipe [Miocic] 3, the trilogy of Stipe and DC. So I wanted the Jon Jones fight and they never brought that conversation up.”
While Jones was on hiatus from competition following a contract dispute with the UFC, Ngannou made his way to the top of the heavyweight division by claiming the title with a knockout over Stipe Miocic.
Ngannou said he was repeatedly told that Jones wasn’t interested, yet the former UFC light heavyweight champion publicly stated that he wanted the fight. Looking back now, Ngannou understands that the promotion was ultimately pitting the fighters against one another in a public war of words.
“They would use it to paint out the narrative for both sides,” Ngannou said. “If it’s [about] me, it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m not doing the fight.’ If it’s Jon Jones, so many times they have told me Jon Jones doesn’t want to do that fight.”
That’s why Ngannou isn’t trash talking Jones as if the former light heavyweight champion was ducking a potential confrontation. Instead, Ngannou says, it’s the UFC that decided Ngannou vs. Jones wasn’t a fight worth booking, for whatever reason.
“I think we both were asking for it,” Ngannou said, acknowledging Jones. “My reason [it didn’t happen] is the UFC. The UFC’s responsible for this fight [not happening].”
Ideally, Ngannou still wants Jones as an opponent, but that’s going to require the UFC to reach across the aisle and work with a rival organization.
Unfortunately, with Ngannou now signed to the PFL and UFC CEO Dana White vehemently shutting down questions about a possible co-promotion, “The Predator” will likely have to go hunting for a different opponent.
“I think that fight should happen and I’ve been [asking] for this fight,” Ngannou said. “I think I can go back to the PFL and talk about this and make this fight happen.”