Dana White: With Jon Jones out, Stipe Miocic gets Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis winner

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UFC president Dana White says the heavyweight division will move on with or without Jon Jones – and that could benefit Stipe Miocic.

On Friday, White gave an update on where negotiations stand between the promotion and Jones.

“Jon Jones is under contract,” White said on “The Jake Asman Show.” “He has a contract. We have tried to work with him and see if there are things we can do to make him want to fight at heavyweight. But if he doesn’t want to fight at heavyweight, he doesn’t want to at the end of the day. What are you going to do? You can’t make the guy fight.

“The reality is Derrick Lewis is really the No. 1 contender for the heavyweight championship right now. It doesn’t matter if Jon Jones wants to fight or doesn’t want to fight.”

Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) never has stated he doesn’t want to fight at heavyweight; the former light heavyweight champ has bulked up for the move since the middle of last year. He’s only remained steadfast on a better deal to fight heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou.

White has stated on numerous occasions that Lewis (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) will be the next title challenger for Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC), who the UFC was, at one point, aiming for Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) to fight in his divisional debut. The fight does not currently have an official date or location.

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As for Jones, White recently tossed around the idea of a No. 1 contender fight against former heavyweight champ Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC). However, Jones quickly shut down that possibility. Unless something changes, White indicated Miocic has solidified himself as the next title challenger for the winner of Ngnannou vs. Lewis.

“Well, Jon Jones made it very clear that he has no interest in fighting Stipe, so it doesn’t really matter,” White said. “What you do is you do the fight with Derrick Lewis and Francis and then Stipe gets the winner.”

Jones, 33, has not competed since he vacated his light heavyweight title last year and declared his intentions to move to heavyweight. Over the past year, White and Jones have exchanged words through the media pertaining to struggling contract negotiations.

Miocic, the fighter with the most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history, most recently competed in March when he was knocked out by Ngannou in Round 2 of the UFC 259 main event. The fight was a rematch of their January 2018 battle at UFC 220 in which Miocic won a unanimous decision.

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