UFC President Dana White will break away from his standard refrain about immediate matchmaking to clarify one thing: Jon Jones isn’t getting the next heavyweight title shot.
Despite a tweet from the light heavyweight champion that ended with a prediction of winning heavyweight gold, White plans to stay the course on plans to give Francis Ngannou the next fight with Stipe Miocic.
“Francis is definitely next,” White told reporters after UFC 252. “You can’t jump over Francis. “
The current heavyweight champion has surpassed former two-division champion Daniel Cormier to close his trilogy on a pair of wins in the main event of UFC 252. And while White doesn’t like playing games at the after a big fight, Ngannou can rest easy.
“Francis destroyed everyone, and if you look at how long it’s been since he’s gotten that title shot, he’s made his way,” White said. “It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yes, Jon Jones moving to heavyweight is very interesting.
This isn’t the first time White has entertained the idea of Jones in the Big Men Division. At one point, the UFC was even working to pair him up against Miocic. But when Jones tested positive for turinabol after a second win over Cormier at UFC 214, the promotion stripped him of the title and abandoned the idea.
After winning the light heavyweight title for a third time and dominating the competition, Jones seemed more ready than ever to increase his weight. He also wanted a raise, which is where things turned out with White. The promoter and Jones had another audience falling out, exchanging accusations on social media and in interviews, until Jones said he would be absent.
Sitting at home with a cell phone in hand, Jones seemed to be forgetting his recent past, or at least putting it on the back burner in hopes of piquing the interest of fans, which could force White to budge on the financial demands.
For now, White might be ready to come to the negotiating table with Jones. But the first order of the day will apparently not be a heavyweight title shot. It goes to Ngannou. After Jones predicted a victory over Miocic, “The Predator” reminded him.