Joe Rogan ‘bummed out’ Francis Ngannou won’t be fighting Jon Jones for UFC heavyweight title

Joe Rogan is not thrilled that former champ Francis Ngannou will no longer be around to defend the UFC heavyweight title.

While discussing the fight game with UFC welterweight contender Belal Muhammad on his podcast, Rogan relayed his disappointment in the failed negotiations between Ngannou and the UFC, which led to the promotion booking a vacant heavyweight title fight between former light heavyweight king Jon Jones and former interim heavyweight champ Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285.

“I’m so bummed out, man,” Rogan said on a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “I do not like this whole thing. I do not like this at all. I do not like when a champion leaves. I do not like having the best guy in the world not being the champion. I do not like the best guy in the world not fighting for the title against Jon.

“If Francis wanted to resign and he wanted to say, ‘I’m done, I had a great career, I made some money and I’m going to relax,’ OK. Congratulations, sir. You had a great career. But to not make it through negotiations, I don’t know what the deal is. I suspect some of it involved him wanting to be able to box as well, because there very well may be a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.”

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Ngannou made his UFC debut in December 2015. In his 13th fight with the promotion, he claimed the heavyweight title by knocking out Stipe Miocic in a rematch at UFC 260, while looking better than ever. At UFC 270, Ngannou defended his title for the first and only time, defeating Gane with an injured knee, while still showing off an improved wrestling game.

That fight marked the final bout on his UFC contract, and he then went to head-to-head with the promotion at the negotiation table. Unfortunately for both sides, an agreement could not be reached, leaving many unanswered questions.

For one, Jones’ debut in the heavyweight division was looming. A fight between him and Ngannou was often discussed, but at least for now, will not come to fruition unless Ngannou and the UFC can come to terms later down the road. If Jones continues his winning ways in a heavier division after a three-year layoff, the yearning for a bout against Ngannou will only grow stronger.

“I’m mad because I feel like we were deprived of one of the great fights in MMA – one of the most compelling fights in MMA,” Rogan said. “Doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Ciryl Gane and Jon Jones. I’m very interested in that fight.

“… For Jon, it’s going to be, can Jon take him (Gane) down. How does Jon perform at heavyweight? Can Jon close the distance? Is he as fast? What is the three years off like? Is he hungrier and even better because he’s fired up? Like, ‘Y’all must have forgot,’ he’s got that mindset?”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie