Francis Ngannou is your new UFC heavyweight champion, and the opponent choice for his first title defense is obvious.
Longtime UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones has been angling for a move to the heavyweight division for nearly a year now, and UFC president Dana White has already said that Jones will get first crack at the winner of Saturday's fight between Ngannou and Stipe Miocic.
Ngannou took the belt in emphatic fashion, knocking Miocic out in the second round. That left Jones with one reaction, which the "Jerry Maguire" fans out there will appreciate:
He followed that up by noting he is very ready to make his heavyweight debut.
It didn't take long for Ngannou to respond, as the new champ addressed Jones' tweet soon after the fight. He added that he would be ready for a fight as early as July or August.
"For my opinion, Jon Jones is the greatest of all time for mixed martial arts. Him moving up is going to be a good thing. He's a challenge I will take. It would be a very good challenge for me, a very good thing on my resume, but this time, he's going to be the challenger. I am the champ.
"I'm ready, anytime soon. Even summer, I will be ready to fight in July or August. Whenever they're ready, I'm ready. He said something like "Show the money." Show the money and we do it baby. I'm here."
Obviously, the UFC wants Jones-Ngannou to happen. Both sides probably want it to happen too. It would be one of the most anticipated fights in recent memory, not to mention the most lucrative. But Jones' reaction is a reminder that money could still be an obstacle.
Can UFC make Francis Ngannou-Jon Jones happen?
The UFC actually tried to set up a Jones-Ngannou fight last year when Miocic was still in a tug of war for the belt with Daniel Cormier. That didn't end well. Jones claimed UFC refused to give him a pay raise for the jump to heavyweight, blasted White and repeatedly threatened to retire during the negotiations.
The stakes of a Jones-Ngannou fight have only increased, but maybe that will help figure out the financials for a possible deal. A win for Ngannou would immediately cement him as one of the UFC's top pound-for-pound fighters and make him a pay-per-view Goliath. A win for Jones would further burnish his legacy as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, if not the greatest.
All we can do is wait and see it if the UFC can make it happen.
Francis Ngannou impressed at UFC 260
In the meantime, the sports world can savor Ngannou's incredible show:
And yes, a lot of people want to see the Jones fight happen.
Meanwhile, White was joking Jones should be very wary about the move to heavyweight.
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