Last month at UFC 260, Francis Ngannou (16-3) knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. After the fight was over, the attention immediately turned to the super fight between Ngannou and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).
Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter in UFC history. Last year, he vacated his light heavyweight title in order to prepare for his move to the heavyweight division. The fight everyone wanted looked like it was going to happen.
However, financial negotiations never got off to a good start. There never was any positive momentum with the UFC and Jones and as of right this second, the fight appears to have no life.
With that, the promotion has moved on to the number on contender Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). The Black Beast has won four fights in a row. He’s coming off of a highlight reel knockout over Curtis Blaydes.
Lewis and Ngannou have already fought once back at UFC 226. The fight was expected to deliver a knockout, but instead, both men looked tentative and Lewis went on to win a decision due to a little more activity.
Lewis spoke to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani where they talked about the rematch with Ngannou. The Black Beast said that the UFC offered the fight to both men for June, but the heavyweight champion wanted to go back to Cameroon and take some time off.
With that, Helwani followed up asking about when the next target is. Lewis responded with, “August is looking real good right now.” That would likely be slated for UFC 265 which already has the title fight between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena.
From all indications, this appears to be the date the UFC is pushing for. There is positive momentum towards this fight, but there is one thing that can throw a wrench into it all. That thing is Jon Jones.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion parted ways this week with his management. We don’t know if that was due to the failed negotiations, but it’s something to keep an eye on. I wouldn’t rule out Jones ultimately getting the fight, but right now the smart money is on Ngannou – Lewis 2 headlining UFC 265.