Francis Ngannou mocks ‘fat’ Jon Jones at PFL vs Bellator event

Francis Ngannou hit out at a ‘fat’ Jon Jones on Saturday, as the heavyweights attended the PFL vs Bellator event in Saudi Arabia.

The Professional Fighters League acquired fellow MMA promotion Bellator in November, and Saturday’s event in Riyadh was headlined by a champion vs champion bout. PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira knocked out Bellator title holder Ryan Bader in 21 seconds, establishing himself as Ngannou’s next MMA opponent.

Ngannou left the UFC and vacated its heavyweight belt in early 2023, before signing for the PFL. However, the Cameroonian has not yet fought in the promotion, instead making his boxing debut in October. Ngannou dropped WBC champion Tyson Fury but lost a controversial decision in Riyadh, and the 37-year-old is now set to box Anthony Joshua in the same Saudi city on 8 March.

It is unclear when Ngannou, who has not competed in MMA since January 2022, will fight Ferreira, and the ex-UFC champion left the arena quickly after the Brazilian’s win on Saturday (24 February). Jones, who won the UFC heavyweight title after it was vacated by Ngannou, was also ringside in Riyadh at the weekend.

“I’m rooting for Francis to win [against Joshua], only because of his story, how far he’s come in life and him being a fellow mixed martial artist,” the American told Dazn.

“Yeah, I mean, how could you not root for Francis? Francis is a wonderful, stand-up person, so I’m rooting for Francis. But Anthony Joshua has been doing this since he was a young boy, and I’m the type of guy who just gives respect where it is due.

“If I had to personally put my money on it – not that I gamble – I would put it on Anthony Joshua, but I am rooting for Francis.”

Upon hearing Jones’s prediction, Ngannou booed and shouted: “You’re losing your money!”

Jones, a light-heavyweight great in the UFC, has not fought since winning the promotion’s heavyweight title. The 36-year-old was due to defend the belt against ex-champion Stipe Miocic in November but suffered an injury two weeks before the bout.

However, “Bones” vowed on Saturday to return to action and beat Miocic, interim champion Tom Aspinall, and Ngannou – to which the latter said, “In your dreams”, before calling Jones “f***ing fat”.