Dana White: Jon Jones won’t jump over Francis Ngannou for title shot, but heavyweight bid ‘interesting’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC President Dana White will break from his standard refrain on immediate matchmaking to make one thing clear: Jon Jones is not getting the next shot at the heavyweight title.

Despite a tweetstorm from the light heavyweight champ 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 champ outworked former two-division champion Daniel Cormier to close their trilogy on a pair of wins in the main event of UFC 252. And while White doesn’t like to make matches in the wake of a big fight, Ngannou can rest easy.

“Francis has been out there destroying everybody, and if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot, he’s worked his way back,” White said. “It belongs to Francis Ngannou. But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”

It’s not the first time White has entertained the idea of Jones in the big-man division. At one point, the UFC was even working on pairing him against Miocic. But when Jones tested positive for turinabol following a second win over Cormier at UFC 214, the promotion stripped him of the title and scrapped the idea.

After winning the light heavyweight title a third time and dominating the competition, Jones appeared more ready than ever to move up in weight. He also wanted a bump in pay, which is where things went south with White. The promoter and Jones had another public falling out, trading accusations over social media and in interviews, until Jones declared he would sit out.

Sitting at home with cell phone in hand, Jones seemed to forget his recent past, or at least put it on the backburner in hopes of drumming up fan interest that could force White to budge on financial demands.

For now, White might be ready to come to the negotiating table with Jones. But the first order of business apparently won’t be a heavyweight title shot. That’s going to Ngannou. After Jones predicted a win over Miocic, “The Predator” reminded him.

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