Although UFC president Dana White said the promotion offered him money that would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in UFC history, Ngannou elected not to re-sign with the promotion, and Jones respects his decision.
“I’m happy for Francis,” Jones said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I’m glad that Francis knows his worth. No man has a right to shame another man for fighting for his worth. I was in a very similar situation as Francis as a light heavyweight. I was never happy with my salary. I had to sit out three years, and I missed a lot of time, but now we’re here. I encourage Francis on his journey, and I wish him all the best. Another company is going to be truly blessed to have him.”
With Ngannou no longer in the UFC, Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) will face Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the vacant heavyweight title in the UFC 285 main event March 4. But Jones isn’t ruling out the possibility of fighting Ngannou down the line.
“I do believe my path will cross with Francis,” Jones said. “Dana White always gives the fans what they want to see, and a Jon Jones-Francis Ngannou fight will always be a fight of interest. So I’m not counting it out. I’ll keep an eye on Francis.”