Jon Jones says Francis Ngannou opted out of opportunity to fight him: ‘He didn’t believe in himself’

Jon Jones says Francis Ngannou is to blame for their fight not materializing.

Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) was gearing up to face Ngannou for the heavyweight title, but Ngannou parted ways with the UFC after they failed to come to an agreement on a new contract.

Dana White said Ngannou turned down the biggest contract in UFC heavyweight history, and Jones questions his decision to not take a chance on himself.

“I don’t think I deserve any criticism,” Jones told RMC Sport. “I’m here. Francis had the opportunity to face me and he opted out of the opportunity. If anyone should be criticized, it’s Francis Ngannou. If I’m correct, he was offered the biggest contract in heavyweight history. He had the opportunity to be a guy to dethrone me. He didn’t believe in himself. Francis didn’t believe in himself. He wasn’t willing to gamble on himself.”


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Instead, Jones will face former interim champ Ciryl Gane (10-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) for the vacant heavyweight belt in the UFC 285 headliner March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. He won’t be taking on the undisputed champion, but Jones is not ruling out a future showdown with Ngannou.

“I felt bad for the fans. I know that would have been a massive fight for the fans,” Jones said. “People from all around the world would have loved to see that event. And I’m not counting it out – I could see Francis going and fighting in boxing and doing whatever he’s going to do. I think he’s always going to be welcome back to the UFC. That’s always going to be a big, big fight, and I’ll be ready for him.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie