UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones isn’t scared of very many human beings.
And with good reason. Jones is undefeated in his UFC career (sorry, Matt Hamill) and is legitimately one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
But he is, however, afraid of former UFC champ Francis Ngannou. At least to some extent.
Jones and Ngannou have never fought, with the latter vacating the UFC heavyweight title prior to Jones winning it in a fight with Ciryl Gane.
But it wasn’t for lack of trying by Jones. At least, that’s what the current champ says.
“The funny thing is, the narrative switched,” Jones said on the OverDogs podcast. “The narrative switched somehow and people are saying that I waited three years and I came back exactly when Francis was gone. That’s actually not true. When I got back, Francis was very much on the roster still and I could have been his last fight, but instead he opted out and Ciryl Gane took Francis’ spot. I came back ready for Francis Ngannou, for sure.”
But Jones also noted that he was happy that he fought Gane in his heavyweight debut rather than Ngannou. Because in his words, Ngannou is “scary.”
“I’m not going to lie though, knowing that I was fighting Ciryl Gane instead of Francis was kind of nice,” he said. “Francis is a scary joker.”
Ngannou has since signed with the PFL and is in preparation for his pro boxing debut against Tyson Fury. Jones says that the move is good sign for fighters across all promotions.
“I’m happy for all these guys and being able to take care of their families,” he said. “I’m actually really proud of the PFL and Bellator for being a competitor of the UFC. I mean that as a UFC employee. I love the UFC, they changed my life. But it’s good to see options. Options are important for all of us to have, no matter what business you’re in, what walk of life. I’m really, really proud of those guys.
Though he was quick to note that the UFC is still the big leagues.
“But if you want to consider yourself truly the best in the world at this sport, you can’t do it if you’re not in the UFC, no matter how dominant you are in other organizations,” Jones continued. “No disrespect to him [but] I’ve seen guys like Michael Chandler, who was such a standout, become more average in the UFC. The UFC is the pinnacle.”