Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou might be the biggest fight in UFC history, but it’s not entirely clear that fight will ever happen. Immediately following Francis Ngannou’s title-winning knockout performance against Stipe Miocic, Jones tweeted that he wanted to fight the new heavyweight champion, but the UFC would have to pay him what he believes he is worth. Since then, there hasn’t appeared to be any progress toward making the fight happen.
In a recent appearance on Steve-O’s Wild Ride!, Jones sounded off on the UFC’s approach to paying it’s athletes. It’s an approach that Jones believes is deeply unfair.
“I don’t want to fight soon,” Jones said. “I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I’m worth.”
Despite this hard-line stance, Jones is still optimistic that the UFC will meet or come close to meeting his pay demands and the fight with Ngannou will happen.
“I think that eventually the UFC will realize that they’re being stubborn. They will realize that they have a special athlete in me.”
By speaking out on pay, Jones says that he’s sticking up not just for himself, but for other UFC fighters that don’t have the luxury to say no to any pay day. He understands that fighters lower on the totem pole are naturally hesitant to voice concerns about pay, but recognizes that he’s in a unique position to do just that.
“I know so many fighters that are living in the Jackson’s MMA gym because they can’t afford their own apartment,” Jones said. “So this is sad. And if I have to have a bad relationship with Dana [White], sit out for two or three years… to bring light to what’s happening then these are the things that people remember you for more than winning belts.”
Check an extended clip of Jones talking about fighter pay and the Ngannou fight below.
A long-time UFC light heavyweight champion, Jones is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA history. He has not fought since February 2020 when he defeated Dominick Reyes to retain his title. Later in 2020, though, Jones vacated his title and announced plans to move up to heavyweight. Presumably, Jones’ first fight at heavyweight, if it happens, will be for the UFC title.