Eric Nicksick: Jon Jones-Ciryl Gane winner can’t stake claim as undisputed UFC heavyweight champ

LAS VEGAS – Regardless of what transpires at UFC 285, Xtreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick will still consider Francis Ngannou UFC heavyweight champion.

Ngannou relinquished his title after parting ways with the UFC due to failed contract negotiations. As a result, the promotion matched up the returning Jon Jones with Ciryl Gane for the vacant belt in Saturday’s UFC 285 headliner at T-Mobile Arena.

Prior to departing, Ngannou retained his title by outwrestling Gane at UFC 270. Nicksick sees interesting storylines emerging from either a Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) or Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) victory, but he is leaning toward Jones.

“I think it’s gonna maybe raise more questions,” Nicksick told MMA Junkie Radio. “If Ciryl wins, we’re obviously gonna look over and say, ‘Well, Francis beat him. Francis was able to outwrestle him and beat him.’ If Jon Jones wins, I think it just adds more luster to that Francis-Jon Jones matchup if it ever does happen. So, in my heart of hearts, I feel like Jon has the proper toolset to go out there and become champion.”

Regardless of the outcome between Jones and Gane, Nicksick says Ngannou still holds the title for “baddest man on the planet.”

“I’m actually kind of torn, because I’m rooting for both guys in a lot of ways,” Nicksick said. “But the winner out of that fight, I don’t think is really gonna stake claim as the undisputed. I think we all know who the real champ is.”


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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie