Jon Jones bluntly on Francis Ngannou: “There’s a good chance he…

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (left) and his successor Jon Jones (right)

@francisngannouufc / @jonnybones

Par Pierre-Andréa Fraile | Sports journalist

Becoming UFC heavyweight champion in March 2023, Jon Jones has nurtured this ambition for a long time without taking the plunge. He has therefore never faced Francis Ngannou, on whom he nevertheless delivered a striking speech a few years ago.

Would he have managed to join the restricted cast of double UFC champions if Francis Ngannou had extended his adventure there? Nothing is less sure. This question continues to torment observers about Jon Jones. Announced as a potential opponent of the Predator for years, he finally waited until his departure to make his heavyweight debut and win the belt.

Jon Jones’ strong words about Francis Ngannou

Winner of Ciryl Gane at UFC 285, Jones thus seized the throne of -120kg after having sat for a long time on that of the lower category. On the other hand, he never satisfied the desire of the fans, who had long hoped for a duel against Ngannou. It must be said that he already mentioned this poster in June 2020 in the podcast Wild ride…and in no way looked down on the Cameroonian colossus:

Francis Ngannou is creepy, you know? There’s a good chance he could break my jaw if I confront him. With him, it’s very simple: you have to prepare for the worst possible scenario. The worst possible scenario would be for him to fucking knock you out and possibly break a bone in your face. Once you prepare for this, it becomes easy!

At the time already interested in a duel against Francis – who was not yet champion of the division, “Bones” knew the risks he was running. The power of his opponent represented a threat that should not be overlooked under any circumstances, even for a fighter as talented as him. As such, the American openly considered the possibility of bowing to him… in order to better dominate him:

If he doesn’t knock you out and break your face, you tell yourself you’re smart and fast, you have a strong chin, good head movement, good wrestling… There are plenty of possibilities for May things end well for you. So, I prepare myself based on the worst-case scenario, to the point where I would arrive in the cage almost expecting to experience it.

Like, “OK, I’m going to get in there and this guy might hurt me tonight.” ” That’s how I see things. Francis Ngannou is dangerous, that’s for sure. I think he has a chance to knock me out, but if he doesn’t, I think I can win this fight. I just need to get through the first round and I will win this fight.

If he still has not fulfilled the fantasy of many fans, Jon Jones seemed mentally prepared to challenge Francis Ngannou in 2020. It remains to be seen whether his psychological approach would have allowed him to gain the upper hand.

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