Could Gane – Lewis at UFC 265 ultimately lead to Jon Jones – Francis Ngannou?

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier this week we learned that UFC 265 would be headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0). The PPV headliner will take place in Lewis’ hometown of Houston, Texas and the interim heavyweight title will be on the line.

The decision to create an interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 was perplexing. Mass confusion fell upon the MMA community due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just won the heavyweight title back in March.

Ngannou has been on vacation and told the UFC he’d be ready to fight Derrick Lewis for the undisputed title in September. However, the promotion needed a main event for August 7th. Their solution was to book Lewis in an interim title fight.

Now, this leaves the undisputed heavyweight champion without a fight. The UFC has said that Gane and Lewis are fighting for the interim title because they are the two most deserving contenders and they are ready to fight on August 7th. Again, doesn’t make a ton of sense, but that’s their story.

However, there could be a silver lining here for all parties involved. Perhaps the UFC can now put together the fight that fans wanted to see all along. Maybe it’s time for the promotion to revisit the superfight between Ngannou and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Will the UFC try to make Ngannou – Jones happen?

Let’s rewind time back to just before UFC 260 where Ngannou defeated Stipe Miocic. The storyline leading up to the fight was that Jon Jones would be moving up to heavyweight and would be fighting the winner.

For months, that’s what Dana White and the UFC had been saying. Jon Jones vacated his light heavyweight title last year to prepare for his move to the heavyweight division.

However, immediately after UFC 260 we learned the fight was going to be hard to make. Jones and the promotion could never come close to a deal and as a result, the UFC moved on from Jones and focused on Derrick Lewis.

Now, we find ourselves in an interesting position. Jones recently hired Richard Schaeffer as his new representative. Schaeffer has a great relationship with UFC President Dana White and has already said publicly that he’s confident the Jones – Ngannou fight will get done.

Heavyweight Tournament?

With this interim title fight on the books for UFC 265, I think it’s time to go back to the negotiation table. There has never been a better time to book Jones against Ngannou. With the interim title fight booked, you get to give the top contenders the crack at gold that they rightfully deserve.

At the same time, if you book Ngannou – Jones, you’re also giving UFC fans the fight they want to see. A four-man tournament could be playing out for the biggest prize in all of combat sports. Of course, at this point it’s all talk, but even Ngannou’s coach talked about this potential silver lining. 

There’s also the outside chance that a four-man tournament plays out without Jones. Stipe Miocic (20-4) is bulking up and wants the trilogy with Ngannou. Perhaps the UFC moves in that direction if a fight with Jones still can’t be made.

This is definitely going to be a storyline to watch over the coming weeks.

Sound Off: Should the UFC book Ngannou against Jones/Miocic or wait for the Gane-Lewis winner?

Ciryl Gane knew about interim title fight before UFC Vegas 30

Ciryl Gane UFC

We are just days removed from learning that UFC 265 will be headlined by an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane (9-0) and Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). The PPV is being held in Houston which is the home of The Black Beast.

The news took everyone by surprised. For the last couple of months, the UFC had been working on Lewis fighting Francis Ngannou (16-3). Ngannou is the undisputed heavyweight champion who just won the title in late March.

However, Ngannou went home to Africa to celebrate his title victory. He just returned to the United States and voiced to the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready for August 7th. Ngannou and his management did accept a fight against Lewis for the undisputed title in September.

However, that didn’t fit the timeline for the UFC. The promotion wanted Lewis to headline the August card in his hometown. UFC 265 has another title fight in Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena, but the promotion didn’t want that as the headliner.

While Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, she’s not a massive draw as her headlining PPVs show. With that, the UFC took an aggressive approach to finding a big time matchup to fill the main event slot. That big time matchup is the interim heavyweight title fight.

Gane knew before UFC Vegas 30

We now know that the wheels were in motion for UFC 265 before the fights last weekend. At UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane defeated Alexander Volkov in the main event. It was a beautiful performance by Gane who took virtually no damage in the fight.

Gane spoke with MMA Junkie this week and said that the promotion approached his management before his fight last weekend. The UFC told the Gane camp that Gane would get a shot at Derrick Lewis for the interim title if he were to win and come out clean.

Once Gane got his hand raised on Saturday night and was cleared to compete, the UFC moved forward with the booking. I still don’t agree with the decision to create an interim title especially considering Ngannou just won the belt and would be ready a month later.

The decision makes absolutely no sense from a combat sports perspective, but it wasn’t a combat sports decision. This was strictly a business decision because the UFC needed a bigger fight to headline their August PPV in Houston.

Sound Off: Do you agree with the UFC’s decision to book an interim title fight in August?

What happened between the UFC and Francis Ngannou?

Francis Ngannou

Yesterday we all saw some shocking news in the world of mixed martial arts. We learned that UFC 265 in August will be headlined by an interim title fight between top contenders Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The two men will battle it out in Houston on August 7th. However, this move was incredibly puzzling to say the least. It’s puzzling due to the fact that Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion at the end of March.

After Ngannou became the champion, he spent a considerable amount of time in Africa to celebrate. Ngannou recently returned to the United States and resumed training in preparation for his first title defense.

For the last month or so, the UFC has been trying hard to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for the August PPV. However, with Ngannou’s travel schedule, he told the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready by the beginning of August.

The promotion then came back to Ngannou and asked about UFC 266 in September. Ngannou and his representatives accepted the fight for the end of September and moved forward with their preparations. However, everything changed yesterday.

UFC’s Change of Plans

The UFC had been moving forward with the September fight, but Ciryl Gane’s performance over the weekend made them hedge. After seeing Gane remain perfect by defeating Alexander Volkov, the promotion tried to use it for leverage to get Ngannou to fight in August.

Ngannou’s camp remained firm in their stance that he would defend the title in September, but not at the beginning of August. The UFC ultimately decided to pull the plug on Ngannou all together and booked the interim title fight.

In the history of the promotion, this is the quickest that they’ve ever instituted an interim title. It’s also incredibly interesting that it was made in the heavyweight division considering the title has been defended on average once a year over the past few years.

So now, the UFC’s superstar heavyweight champion is sidelined. This move makes no sense and to me the promotion just cut their nose off to spite their face.

BREAKING: UFC books interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane

Massive breaking news this afternoon involving the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the promotion is moving forward with an interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (9-0).

The fight will headline UFC 265 on August 7th which will take place in Houston, Texas. This is a massive shot as Francis Ngannou (16-3) just became the undisputed heavyweight champion a few months ago.

The promotion had been trying to book Ngannou against Derrick Lewis for August, but Ngannou wasn’t ready. The latest word was that the UFC was going to book the heavyweight title fight for September, but everything changed on a dime.

Over the weekend at UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane dominated Alexander Volkov to remain undefeated. After witnessing his performance, the UFC decided to move Gane up the ladder for an interim title fight against Lewis.

The manager for the UFC heavyweight champion was completely stunned by the news. Ngannou’s reps told Okamoto, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon.”

UFC’s odd decision

I honestly don’t understand the UFC’s logic here at all. By all accounts, Ngannou was going to be ready to defend his title in September. Over the last few years, the heavyweight title has been defended on average once per year.

Ngannou just won the title at the end of March. To make an interim title so soon is absolutely insane to me. Nevertheless, the UFC is moving forward and Ciryl Gane will battle Derrick Lewis in his backyard for the heavyweight title.

With this news, we likely won’t see Francis Ngannou against until the end of the year. Well, maybe the UFC will finally book Ngannou against Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) for the undisputed title then have the winners face off. Who knows, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

Houston the front-runner to host UFC 265 per Dana White

It looks like the UFC will be heading back to Texas in August. At least, that’s how it’s looking right now. This week, Dana White sat down with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole and they talked about all the happenings with the promotion.

Of course, one of the topics that came up was the UFC heavyweight division. Currently, the promotion is trying to finalize the first title defense for the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3).

Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) at UFC 260 to capture the heavyweight title. Prior to that night, it was understood that the winner would fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is a super-fight over the summer.

However, financial negotiations never got off to a hot start between Jones and the UFC. Now, it doesn’t appear that Jones is going to be fighting anytime soon. With that, the promotion moved to the top contender, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC).

Lewis is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC and he holds a decision win over the current champion. He’s won four fights in a row and he definitely deserves the next crack at the heavyweight title. Because Lewis is next, the promotion is honing in on Houston, Texas hosting UFC 265.

UFC 265 – Home Field Advantage

Now, the UFC hasn’t finalized the rematch between Ngannou and Lewis. However, the word is that the fight is getting pretty close to the goal line. The promotion is planning on the heavyweight title fight headlining UFC 265.

Currently, Amanda Nunes (21-4) – Julianna Pena (10-4) is the lone title fight on the August PPV. However, it appears that the promotion is going to have the heavyweight title on the line in the main event.

Derrick Lewis is a native of Houston and he got a massive pop when shown on screen at UFC 262 earlier this month. It looks like Lewis is going to get a little home field advantage for his second crack at UFC gold.

Of course, this situation is still fluid at the moment. For one, the promotion hasn’t finalized the fight and two, UFC 265 hasn’t been announced for Houston. However, the promotion is looking to lock up the location soon and my guess is the fight will be finalized just before.

UFC: Stipe Miocic targeting a return at the end of the year to regain his title

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The greatest heavyweight in the history of the UFC is ready to make his return. Stipe Miocic (20-4) is ready to get back into the octagon and he’s excited to regain what he believes is his and that’s the heavyweight championship.

Back at UFC 260, Miocic was set to defend his title against Francis Ngannou (16-3). The two had met a couple of years prior and Miocic completely dominated Ngannou. However, this fight was a completely different story. Ngannou’s measured approach was difficult for Miocic to solve.

In the second round, Ngannou dropped Miocic with a straight shot. Upon retreating, Miocic landed a beautiful counter right that for a moment appeared to daze Ngannou. In reality, this was the worst thing that could have happened to Miocic at UFC 260.

Sensing he had Ngannou hurt, Miocic rushed in and was caught flush with a short left hook. That hook knocked Miocic out cold and Ngannou claimed the UFC heavyweight title. After the fight was over, many were wondering if that was the last time we’d see Miocic inside the octagon.

However, Miocic has made it clear that he’s going no where. He has a fire burning inside of him and he’s ready to get back to the heavyweight title. UFC President Dana White said last week that Miocic would be facing the winner of Ngannou – Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). This news brought a smile to the former champion’s face.

UFC redemption?

In speaking to Submission Radio this week, Miocic said of the UFC President’s comments, “That’s great news. It’s what I was expecting, but you never know what could happen. I’m happy with that.” When asked about his timeline, Miocic said, “I don’t know, we will see on when they want to give me the rematch. End of this year, early next year, I don’t know.”

The UFC’s fallout with Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) has made a lot of this possible. Originally, the promotion wanted Jones to face off against the winner of the UFC 260 main event. However, the promotion and Jones never got on the same page when it comes to negotiations.

Jones recently hired former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer as his representative. The former light heavyweight champion announced that he didn’t plan on returning to the UFC until next year which would fit Stipe Miocic’s timeline he has now.

However, yesterday, Jones said that if Schaefer does well for him in negotiations, he could return this year. The UFC is currently targeting the Ngannou – Lewis title fight for early August. The winner would likely face Miocic at the end of the year, but of course, Jones could throw a wrench into everything. Honestly, I would love to see Jones fight for the heavyweight title, but if anyone deserves a shot before him, it’s Stipe Miocic.

UFC: Jon Jones isn’t planning on fighting anytime soon

UFC, Jon Jones

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) isn’t planning on making his way back into the octagon anytime soon. Jones took to Twitter yesterday and made it clear that he’s in no rush to come back.

Last week, Dana White said that the UFC was moving on from Jon Jones in terms of the heavyweight title picture. White told TMZ that Jones’ fighting future is strictly up to Jon Jones.

Heading into 2021, it was clear that Jones would get a crack at the heavyweight title this year. At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou (16-3) knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4) to become the heavyweight champion.

Immediately fans started getting excited about the possibility of a matchup between Jones and Ngannou. However, immediately after the fight was over, Jones and the UFC were at odds in terms of compensation.

After some back-and-forth both over social media and behind closed doors, the two sides couldn’t come to terms. As a result, Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) is going to be getting the next shot at the title. The UFC is trying to finalize the matchup for August.

Jones’ UFC Future

With Lewis being granted the shot at Ngannou, Dana White suggested that Jon Jones fights Stipe Miocic. This would be a fun matchup between arguably the greatest of all time and the greatest heavyweight of all time.

White’s logic was that this fight would truly establish a number one contender after the UFC title fight in August. However, Jones came out and said that the only fight he wants is the heavyweight title fight.

Since then, White has said that Stipe Miocic would be getting the winner of the matchup between Ngannou and Lewis. Stipe will likely get his shot at the end of the year or in early 2022.

With that, it will be another year where we don’t see Jon Jones in the UFC. His last fight came back in February of 2020 so we are likely looking at a two-year layoff for the all time great. Jones said on Twitter he doesn’t mind the wait, and thinks it might actually be a good thing.

UFC: Jon Jones isn’t interested in Dana White’s idea to have him fight Stipe Miocic

UFC, Jon Jones

Right now, the world is waiting on an official announcement on what’s next for the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Francis Ngannou (16-3) defeated Stipe Miocic (20-4) back at UFC 260 to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

After the fight was over, we thought we’d be getting Ngannou versus Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) next. However, financial negotiations between Jones and the UFC have not gone over well and as of now, the promotion is moving in a different direction.

Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) is the top contender in the heavyweight division who is also waiting for a title shot. The Black Beast holds a victory over Ngannou and he’s riding a four-fight win streak.

UFC president Dana White spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and told him that the promotion was doing Ngannou – Lewis 2 next. Stipe Miocic has come out and said that he is fully intending on getting his UFC heavyweight title back.

Miocic said that he plans to bulk up before a trilogy with Ngannou. When made aware of these comments by Okamoto, White said that he loved it. Then he smiled and suggested the UFC do Miocic versus Jones in the interim.

UFC: Jones vs Miocic?

In a serious of deleted tweets that were later posted by MMA Junkie, the former UFC light heavyweight champion shot down the idea of fighting Miocic. Jones made it clear that he wants to fight Ngannou next and he will wait for that fight.

“Don’t get excited people, I’m not fighting Stipe…I’m not here to fight Stipe but I will defend my belt against him no problem. I’m looking for the biggest draw and I’m willing to wait. 33 years old I’m a better athlete right now than I’ve ever been before. I’m just going to keep training my ass off… The world wants to see some black on black crime right now and I’m going to give it to them.”

Jones is right about one thing; the biggest fight the UFC can make is Jones versus Ngannou. However, that isn’t what’s going to be next. We will likely see Ngannou rematch with Derrick Lewis in August.

If Ngannou comes out of that fight victorious, the UFC will likely try to book the Jones fight again for the end of the year. If that fight happens at the end of the year, Stipe Miocic will likely be waiting in the wings next spring.

Is the UFC revisiting Jon Jones – Francis Ngannou or have they moved on?

UFC, Jon Jones

At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou (16-3) became the heavyweight champion of the world when he knocked out Stipe Miocic (20-4). After the fight was over, people immediately started talking about the potential matchup with Ngannou and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Jones is widely considered to be the greatest of all time while Ngannou is considered to be the scariest UFC heavyweight of all time. It would truly be a fun matchup where anything could happen.

However, making the fight hasn’t proved to be easy. Jones and the UFC have had some verbal back-and-forths over how much Jones should get paid for the fight. Negotiations have never had momentum and as a result, the UFC has started to move on.

Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) is the heavyweight who should be next in line all things considered. Lewis is the top heavyweight contender and holds a victory over the current heavyweight champion.

If Jones wasn’t in the picture, Lewis – Ngannou 2 would already be signed. The Black Beast talked with Ariel Helwani last week and said that August was looking great for his rematch with Francis Ngannou. 

By all indicators, it appeared that the UFC was moving in that direction. However, there has been a ton of recent trash talk online between Jones and Ngannou. Perhaps the promotion might try one last time to get the Jones – Ngannou fight booked.

What will the UFC do?

Derrick Lewis is a massive fan favorite and he’s already on board to fight Ngannou. Lewis said that his part of the negotiations is done with the UFC and he’s just waiting for the next steps.

With that, the promotion has Lewis in their back pocket. With the recent online trash talk, I could definitely see the promotion going back to Jones one last time to try and get this fight done.

An interesting development before the Twitter battle started was the fact that Jones parted ways with his managers. With that, it could pave the road to the fight getting done or it could have provided another roadblock.

Time will tell, but as of now, it looks like the UFC heavyweight title will be defended in August. Lewis is ready to go and he’s told the promotion he’s down. Ngannou will likely be on board as well. I can see the promotion taking the next couple of weeks to negotiate with Jones.

If they can get Jones on board, Jones is getting the fight. However, if it starts to drag again, I can see them having a quick trigger in switching to Lewis. Expect Ngannou to defend his title in August and before May is over, we will know who he’s fighting.

UFC: Derrick Lewis says August is ‘looking real good’ for his rematch with Francis Ngannou

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.

UFC 265?

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.