Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou Could Defend UFC Heavyweight Title Against Returning Jon Bones Jones Next Year

Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou Could Defend UFC Heavyweight Title Against Returning Jon Bones Jones Next Year

Byron Pillay
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:17 PM
  • Jon Bones Jones relinquished the Light-Heavyweight championship in 2020 to move up a division to Heavyweight
  • Francis Ngannou's contract with the UFC expires at the end of the year, and no new deal has been agreed on as yet
  • Jones was considered the greatest champion in the history of the UFC before he took a hiatus from MMA

Jon Bones Jones could be making his long-awaited return to the UFC next year, with his proposed fight being against his toughest challenger yet.

The former light-heavyweight champion has not competed since February 2020, when he beat Dominik Reyes to defend his title.

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Former Light-Heavyweight champion Jon Jones is eyeing a return to the Octagon and a fight against the Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. Image: Mike Roach
Source: Getty Images

Why hasn’t Jones fought?

As noted by MMA Weekly, Jones relinquished his light-heavyweight title six months after his last fight and announced that he would be moving up to the heavyweight division to challenge for the title. Jones was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world before his hiatus from the sport. His professional record is 26 wins, 1 loss, and 1 no-contest.

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The one loss came in 2009 when Jones was disqualified for throwing illegal shots. The decision has been shrouded in controversy, and even UFC president Dana White believes that Jones shouldn’t have a loss on his record.

A fight against the champion

Reports from the UFC indicate that Jones is scheduled to return to the Octagon next year. A fight between him and UFC Heavyweight Champion, Francis Ngannou, is currently being planned. A bout against Curtis Blaydes is also being talked about.

Ngannou’s absence explained

The dominant Cameroonian champion has also not been seen for some time. Ngannou last fought in January 2022 when he defended his title against Ciryl Gane, Tapology confirmed. The champ underwent knee surgery in March and is currently not cleared to compete. Ngannou’s contract with the UFC also expires at the end of the year. The fighter and the promotion have yet to agree on a new deal, Bleacher Report confirmed.

UFC heavyweight champion reacts to Israel Adesanya's brutal knockout by Alex Pereira

It’s fair to say UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou wasn’t impressed with what he saw from the main event of UFC 281.

Alex Perreira defeated Israel Adesanya to become the UFC middleweight champion, and he did it via a brutal knockout, Sports Brief reported.

Adesanya seemed to be well on his way to a victory over the Brazilian fighter on Sunday morning, but massive punches to Izzy's face in the fifth round saw the fight end in stunning fashion.

Francis Ngannou: UFC Heavyweight champ has gone from poverty to prison to the world's most powerful puncher

Francis Ngannou is one of the world's most popular and feared fighters, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight titleholder didn't have the easiest road to get where he is.

Nicknamed The Predator, Ngannou was born in Batié, Cameroon, and grew up in poverty with no formal education.

As he recalled in an interview with Joe Rogan, he had to search for food in bins as a youngster, often 'fighting' with rats for the scraps, Sports Brief reported.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.