Dana White targeting UFC bout between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic

UFC, Dana White

For the last couple of years, we’ve been wondering when Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) would return to the UFC. A couple of years ago, there was an angle to make the fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. However, the fight never came together.

Jones had a bit of a falling out with the UFC after that. Then, Jones vacated the light heavyweight title and focused on moving up to heavyweight. The UFC and Jones seemed to be on good terms leading up to the title fight with Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic.

However, after Ngannou won the title by knockout, Dana White had some choice comments regarding Jones’ interest in the fight. Once again, this caused a bit of a fall out between the UFC and Jones. However, Jones remained focused and intent on fighting at heavyweight.

While most wanted to see him in 2021, the calendar turned over without a Bones fight. In January, Francis Ngannou defended his title successfully against Ciryl Gane. However, Ngannou required knee surgery after the fight and won’t fight until the end of the year at the earliest.

Interim UFC Heavyweight Title Fight

This injury has opened the doors to a fight that Dana White wants to make. The fight he wants to make would pit the greatest of all time against the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. White told TMZ that he wants to make Jon Jones – Stipe Miocic (20-4) happen this summer.

The UFC president said it’s the fight to make and their goal is to make it happen. It’s the perfect fight for the promotion. Obviously, it gets Jon Jones back in the octagon where he’s needed. It gives Stipe Miocic the opportunity to regain a piece of the heavyweight title.

This fight would also setup a huge seller against Ngannou regardless of the winner. If Jon Jones wins, it sets up arguably the biggest fight in the history of the promotion. If Stipe Miocic wins, it sets up the trilogy between the two men to see who is truly the best in the UFC.

The word is that the UFC is really pushing for this to headline one of the July PPVs. My guess is that they would love to get it done for International Fight Week. The fight isn’t done, but this is definitely something to watch over the coming weeks.

Tai Tuivasa calling for a UFC showdown with Stipe Miocic next

There are rumors circulating that two of the more popular fighters in the UFC‘s heavyweight division might be fighting this summer. Over the past couple of days, it’s been rumored that the promotion is targeting a summer showdown between Stipe Miocic (20-4) and Tai Tuivasa (15-3).

These rumors have been fueled by recent interviews from “Bam Bam”. Tuivasa appeared on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani yesterday where he was vocal about the fight to make is a matchup with Stipe Miocic.

He was humble when he was calling for the fight, but he talked about how much sense it makes in regards to the UFC’s heavyweight division. Both men are ranked inside the top three and both men currently need a fight.

Now, I had thought all along that Ciryl Gane (10-1) was going to be the next fight for Tuivasa. However, I think there’s some legs to this potential fight with Stipe Miocic. However, it will ultimately come down to one man and that man is Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Will the UFC make this fight happen?

The UFC’s heavyweight division is in limbo due to Francis Ngannou’s contract situation and health. Ngannou is set to undergo knee surgery in the US on March 14th and from there, we are in for a long negotiation battle between the UFC and the heavyweight champion.

There have already been preliminary talks about an interim title fight in July pairing Jon Jones with Stipe Miocic. They could sell the fight as the greatest of all time versus the greatest heavyweight in UFC history.

However, Tuivasa throws a wrinkle into everything. He seems dead set on the Stipe fight and there are rumors. Until Jon Jones actually has a UFC contract signed, it’s hare to peg him for any fight to be completely honest.

My gut still tells me that Jon Jones will fight Stipe Miocic over the summer for the interim title. The fight just makes too much sense and would setup a super fight at the end of the year with Francis Ngannou regardless of the winner.

With that, I still believe that Tuivasa should and probably will fight former UFC interim champion Ciryl Gane next. Either fight for Tuivasa puts him squarely in the title picture. Time will tell, but my guess is that we will know sooner than later.

Jon Jones interested in UFC matchup against Stipe Miocic

UFC, Jon Jones

Right now, there’s a lot of question marks surrounding the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Francis Ngannou just defended his title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. However, it was the final fight on Ngannou’s contract and he fought with a knee injury that will keep him out most of the year.

If Ngannou was healthy and had more fights under his deal, the UFC would likely move to book the fight between him and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). However, with Ngannou’s future in flux, there’s a lot of question marks surrounding what would be next at the top of the heavyweight division.

Last week, I threw out the idea of having Jon Jones fight Stipe Miocic (20-4) next. Miocic hasn’t fought since he lost the UFC heavyweight to Ngannou back in March of 2021. Miocic is considered to be the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history.

If anyone deserved an immediate rematch, it would be Miocic. However, the UFC didn’t grant Miocic a rematch despite the fact that he beat Ngannou in their first matchup which made them 1-1. Miocic also wasn’t offered a spot in the interim title fight that took place over the summer.

The former heavyweight champion has been chomping at the bit to get back into the cage. He said he would be interested in fighting Jon Jones and Jones came out on Twitter today and said he would also be interested in the facing the UFC’s heavyweight GOAT.

Will the UFC make the fight happen?

Right now, there’s a ton of smoke surrounding this potential matchup. It just makes all the sense in the world for the UFC. Jon Jones needs to get back into the cage as does Stipe Miocic. The fight would be massive and fans all around the world would tune in.

It honestly wouldn’t even matter who won in terms of the next fight’s magnitude. Jones against Ngannou would be the biggest especially if Jones comes in wearing interim heavyweight gold. However, who wouldn’t want to see Ngannou – Miocic 3 with both men wearing titles entering the fight.

With Ngannou’s situation in flux for most of 2022, expect another interim title. With that in mind, there’s no fight bigger for the interim title than Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic.

Will the UFC book an interim title fight with Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic?

UFC, Jon Jones

We are just about a week removed from UFC 270, but it’s time to take a look at what could be coming next. Last weekend, Francis Ngannou (17-3) defended his heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane (10-1).

The fight was the last one on Ngannou’s current UFC contract. Ngannou also went into the fight with a torn MCL and a damaged ACL. The champion is known for his knockout power, but had to use his wrestling to pull out a decision win.

It’s been revealed this week that Ngannou will require surgery which will keep him out of action until the end of the year. His contract’s championship clause also expires at the end of the year. With that in mind, we might have seen the last of Francis Ngannou in the UFC.

Now, despite the public back-and-forth, I think a deal will ultimately get done. However, with contract negotiations up in the air and Ngannou out until the end of the year regardless, I think the UFC is going to push forward with another interim title.

Another interim UFC heavyweight champion?

It seems incredibly redundant since Ciryl Gane was just the interim champion and lost to Ngannou. The UFC made an interim title just three months after Ngannou won the title in 2021 and Ngannou had no contract issues or injuries at the time.

Throw those two factors in and I see a recipe for another interim championship. However, this potential interim title would have a lot more merit in my opinion. I think the UFC is going to look at booking Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) against Stipe Miocic (20-4).

The fight sells itself as the greatest of all time moving up to heavyweight to take on the greatest heavyweight of all time. You could make this the headlining fight at International Fight Week in July with the winner setup to fight Francis Ngannou potentially at the end of the year or early 2023.

Jones has been told he’s going to get a UFC title shot when he debuts at heavyweight. Stipe Miocic’s resume speaks for itself and he deserves another crack at UFC gold. Whoever wins would setup a massive fight with Ngannou.

Either we would get the trilogy involving Stipe or the Jon Jones fight we’ve always wanted. If Jones moves up and beats Stipe, the Ngannou fight becomes even bigger. If I’m the UFC, this is definitely the direction I would go.

Dana White says UFC 270 absence had nothing to do with Francis Ngannou

UFC, Dana White

This past Saturday at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane battled for the undisputed heavyweight title. Leading up to the event, there was a lot of drama surrounding Francis Ngannou and his contract situation. Saturday night was the final fight on Ngannou’s contract.

Ngannou had a gutsy performance and won a decision at UFC 270. It was later revealed that Ngannou fought with a torn MCL and a damaged ACL. We learned today that Ngannou will have surgery on his knee which will keep him out of action most of the year if not the rest of 2022.

After the fight was over, people were quick to notice that Dana White didn’t wrap the belt around Francis Ngannou. Instead, a UFC matchmaker was the one to wrap the belt around Ngannou. White also missed the post-fight press conference which was very surprising.

Of course, people immediately jumped to the conclusion that White skipped out due to the rift between Ngannou and the UFC. Tonight, White appeared on an exclusive Q&A with ESPN+ where he addressed what happened.

UFC and Ngannou

White said that he was dealing with issues backstage and said that he left before the main event even started. The UFC president didn’t disclose what happened, but he reiterated that he has no issue with Ngannou and he talked about the fact that he was with him all week.

Another thing that White pointed out was the fact that he’s had to deal with issues before in the back. He pointed out the UFC 199 situation where he almost missed putting the belt around the waist of Michael Bisping because he was dealing with drama that was taking place backstage.

During the Q&A, White also talked about the fact that the super fight that the UFC wants to make this year is a battle between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. Of course, Ngannou’s injury and contract situation has created a ton of uncertainty. 

Three UFC fights that need to happen in 2022

Conor McGregor, UFC

The calendar is getting ready to turn over to 2022 and the UFC has big plans for the next calendar year. There were so many big fights that took place in 2021, and the world’s premier MMA organization will look to continue that next year.

Some of the notable fights that took place this year are the two fights with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Charles Oliveira became the UFC lightweight champion when he knocked out Michael Chandler.

UFC 261 featured the return to arenas and saw Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas score big knockout wins in their title fights. Then you had the fight of the year at UFC 268 when Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler.

So many epic moments and epic fights took place this year. As mentioned, the UFC is already making fights through April of next year. There are some big things in the works.

That being said, what are some of the fights that are must makes for the promotion next year?

UFC fights that need to happen

Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz 3

This one feels like an obvious choice. The UFC needs to make the trilogy between Conor McGregor (22-6) and Nate Diaz (20-13). It’s a perfect time in both men’s career to run this fight back.

When they first fought, Diaz shocked everyone by submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 196. Then McGregor won an instant classic in the rematch at UFC 201. Since then, the trilogy has been always on the table.

However, the UFC has never pulled the trigger on it. Given where both men stand, I think it’s the perfect time for it.

Colby Covington – Jorge Masvidal

The next fight the UFC needs to make is arguably the biggest grudge match there is to make. That would be the matchup between former teammates and close friends Colby Covington (16-3) and Jorge Masvidal (35-15).

Both of these men are also in a very similar position. They’ve both lost to Kamaru Usman twice and will need some big momentum to warrant a third shot against the UFC champion.

They’ve been jawing at each other for the past couple of years, but the fight has never come together. Now is the time for the UFC to make this happen and even perhaps make them coaches on The Ultimate Fighter.

Jon Jones – Heavyweight Champion

The last fight the UFC needs to make this year is booking Jon Jones‘ (26-1, 1 NC) return fight for the heavyweight title. We haven’t seen Jones in the UFC since the beginning of 2020.

Jones has bulked up in anticipation of his heavyweight debut which is expected to be for the title. Next month, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane will battle for the undisputed heavyweight title.

You can imagine that Jones will be watching closely. He’s hinted that he wants to fight the winner next summer, and I think that would be an ideal situation for the UFC.

Who will be UFC champion after 2022? (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

UFC, Jon Jones

2021 is coming to a close and it’s time to look at some UFC predictions for 2022. One of the fun things to do entering a new year is predicting who will be holding UFC gold once the calendar turns over to 2023.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the big boys and seeing who will be wearing gold at the end of next year. Last year, these predictions didn’t do very great as the only one I got right was the middleweight division.

I thought Jon Jones would return to become UFC heavyweight champion and I figured Israel Adesanya would defeat Jan Blachowicz. I also figured that Gilbert Burns would defeat Kamaru Usman when they fought.

Obviously, none of those predictions came true. Hopefully, my 2022 predictions for UFC champions will be a lot better.

UFC champions after 2022

Welterweight – Kamaru Usman

Starting off is the UFC’s welterweight division. Kamaru Usman (20-1) is still the king at 170 pounds after a sensational year that saw him defend his title three times. In fact, he was my fighter of the year in 2021 with those three defenses.

As we enter 2022, it’s hard to see anyone taking the title from The Nigerian Nightmare. The most intriguing contender is prospect Khamzat Chimaev (10-0). Chimaev has the skillset and the talent to potentially dethrone the champion, but we need to see him compete against more top competition first.

Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) is likely getting the next crack at Usman. Edwards didn’t win the first time they fought and it’s hard to see him beating him the second time. I think Kamaru Usman leaves 2022 with the UFC welterweight title still wrapped around his waist.

Middleweight – Israel Adesanya

Next up is the UFC’s middleweight division where Israel Adesanya (21-1). This past year saw Adesanya defend his middleweight title once and that came against Marvin Vettori back in June.

Adesanya completely dominated the fight to retain his title. Next up for The Last Stylebender is a rematch with former champion Robert Whittaker (23-5). Whittaker is by far the biggest challenger for Adesanya in the middleweight division.

These two will fight at UFC 271. If there’s one man who can beat Adesanya at 185, it’s Whittaker. However, I still give the edge to Stylebender and I think he’ll hold on to his middleweight title. If Whittaker doesn’t beat him, no one will next year.

Light Heavyweight – Jiri Prochazka

Next up is the light heavyweight division where Glover Teixeira (33-7) is currently the champion. If you would’ve told me that entering 2022 that Glover Teixeira would be the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, I would have told you that you were on drugs.

However, Teixeira proved this past year that age is just a number and he became the light heavyweight champion. His Cinderella story has truly been remarkable, however, it might come to a screeching halt in the first part of 2022.

I believe that the best light heavyweight in the world is Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka has looked sensational since joining the UFC with knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes. He will now get a shot against Teixiera in the first part of next year.

I don’t see any scenario where Teixeira wins unless he’s able to just take Prochazka down at will. Once Prochazka gets his hands on the UFC light heavyweight title, I don’t see him letting it go.

Heavyweight – Jon Jones

Last but not least is the UFC’s heavyweight division. Last year, I figured that we would have seen the heavyweight debut of Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) and I figured he would be atop the heavyweight division. Well, I’m keeping that prediction for 2022.

The one thing I did get right about 2021 was Francis Ngannou (16-3) defeating Stipe Miocic to become champion. Ngannou will defend his title against Ciryl Gane (10-0) next month in a unification bout.

I’m still torn on that fight, but I think that the winner is going to face Jon Jones. While some might think I’m crazy, I still believe that at his best, Jon Jones is the best fighter in the UFC. He’s had so many issues outside the cage, but inside, he’s been flawless.

Whenever he comes back and gets his shot in 2022, I think he’s going to show off just how good he is. I believe that Jones will capture the UFC heavyweight title in 2022 and regain his top spot on the pound for pound rankings.

Stipe Miocic down to fight Jon Jones or Francis Ngannou in UFC return

MMA, Stipe Miocic

In a couple of months, UFC 270 will play host to a massive heavyweight title fight. The heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) will be defending his title against the undefeated interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0).

While there is a ton of attention on this title fight, there are a couple of huge heavyweight contenders lurking in the shadows. The biggest one being arguably the greatest fighter of all time in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones has been bulking up for over a year anticipating a move to heavyweight.

Lately, the former light heavyweight champion is weighing just under the heavyweight limit at 260 pounds. Jones has been rumored to be the front-runner to face off against whoever wins at UFC 270. However, there’s another contender that’s flying under the radar.

That contender is the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-3). Miocic is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history. However, he has a history of being overlooked and essentially disrespected by the UFC.

Last March, Miocic lost his heavyweight title to Ngannou. Despite having gone 8-2 in his last ten which includes six wins in title fights, Miocic has been mostly out of the conversation in terms of the heavyweight title picture.

UFC Return

Back in August when the UFC booked Ciryl Gane against Derrick Lewis for the interim heavyweight title, Miocic wasn’t even considered for the fight. While this has certainly annoyed Miocic, the former champion is taking it in strides as he prepares for his return.

Miocic talked with Ariel Helwani today and the two discussed his UFC return. The former heavyweight champion made it clear that he would fight anyone, however, there are a couple of fights that really interest him.

“I’m down [to fight Jon Jones] … Obviously, I really want that trilogy fight [with Francis Ngannou],” transcribed by MMA Fighting. The UFC and Jon Jones can never seem to get on the same page these days. In my opinion, Jones would be the promotion’s first choice for the winner of Ngannou – Gane.

However, I think Miocic is likely to get the shot given the negotiation issues between Jones and the promotions. It’ll be interesting to watch this play out, but either way, I’m excited to see Stipe back in the octagon sometime next spring.

Stipe Miocic to meet with UFC next month regarding his return

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The greatest heavyweight in the history of the UFC is getting ready to ramp up the comeback conversations. Stipe Miocic (20-4) has been motivated to get back in the cage ever since he lost the heavyweight title back in March.

Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (16-3) at UFC 260. This was a rematch from a couple of years ago. In the first fight, Miocic completely dominated and overwhelmed Ngannou in a lopsided decision.

The second fight was completely different. Ngannou was calculated and remained calmed throughout on his way to knocking Miocic out in the second round to become the UFC heavyweight champion.

After the loss, Miocic has stated that he wants the trilogy with Ngannou to regain his heavyweight title. However, the UFC had no plans for that right away. Miocic needed time to recover and with a baby on the way, he decided to sit back for a while.

In the mean time, there has been a ton of activity in the heavyweight division. Despite the title being on the line just a few months ago, the UFC created an interim title that Derrick Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) and Ciryl Gane (10-0) just fought for at UFC 265.

Miocic to meet with the UFC

Gane stopped Lewis in the third round to become the interim UFC heavyweight champion. With the interim title around his waste, Gane will be taking on the undisputed champion, Francis Ngannou, likely at the end of the year or in early 2022.

So where does that leave the greatest heavyweight in UFC history? Well, Miocic is in a bit of a waiting pattern. He told ESPN this week that his wife is due with their son in the next couple of weeks. After the baby is born, Miocic is flying to Las Vegas to meet with Dana White regarding what’s next.

Miocic did mention that he was a little annoyed he didn’t get a call for the interim title fight. That was never in the UFC’s plans. White has publicly mentioned a fight with Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) as an option for Miocic. Miocic told ESPN he would be down for that fight, but Jones has been less interested in this matchup in the past.

I have to say, with Ngannou – Gane happening, I would love for the UFC to book Miocic against Jones. The greatest of all time versus the greatest heavyweight has a nice ring to it. Not too mention the fact that it would provide a clear number one contender for the winner of Ngannou – Gane.

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?