Streaking one-time UFC heavyweight championship challenger, Derrick Lewis has claimed that former two-time light heavyweight best, Jon Jones, “is out of the picture” to meet with Francis Ngannou next, maintaining he, in fact, has “got the fight” with the Cameroon native.
Lewis, who has won his last four consecutively since November of 2019, is currently sitting at #2 in the official heavyweight pile, and has claimed that he will be next in line to meet with Ngannou, following a disappointing initial pairing between the two back in July of 2018 where Lewis emerged with a forgettable unanimous decision win.
Amid the UFC’s recent public negotiation fallout with the aforementioned, Jones, Lewis was identified as a possible first heavyweight title defence opponent for Ngannou, with the promotion briefly floating a June 12th. UFC 263 date for the two — which Ngannou rejected given the fact the timeline doesn’t work for him.
Prior to UFC 261 last Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, promotional leader, Dana White claimed that Jones had asked for a “guaranteed” paycheck of $30 million, which the Rochester native recently denied.
“Amicably parting ways” with long-time management firm, First Round Management earlier this week, Jones, as per organizational founder, Malki Kawa, was handling negotiations for a potential showdown with Ngannou himself.
The above-mentioned White noted the winning-spree embarked on by Lewis recently, detailing that he deserves to rematch Ngannou for the heavyweight championship.
“We (the UFC) tried to work with Jon (Jones), and we eventually have to move on because realistically and in all honesty, Derrick Lewis is the guy who deserves the fight,” White said during an appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast. “Derrick Lewis is a heavyweight, he beat Francis Ngannou, he’s looked good in his last couple of fights. He’s ranked in the top three, I think, and he deserves the fight. That’s the fight that should happen. We’ll just roll and do what we do. When Jon’s ready, he’ll let us know.“
“In his (Jones’) deal, he’s talking — he wants $30 million, guaranteed,” White continued. “The way that this works is, these guys all share in the pay-per-view… so he will share in the profits of the fight. That’s how it works. That’s how you run a business and you don’t go broke.” (H/T MMA Junkie)
Appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show recently, Lewis claimed that he had “got the fight” with Ngannou, as well as claiming that Jones was “out of the picture.“
“I don’t know if I can be talking about all of this,” Lewis said. “But somethings going to happen. We’re just waiting on Francis (Ngannou). I got the fight, so I’m just really waiting on Francis to pick what date he wants to get in on. They gave me some dates, some months, so we’re just waiting on him to respond. August is looking real good right now, so they’re going to see what it’s like in August for him.“
Whilst according to Lewis, a date has yet to be nailed down for a rematch against Ngannou, he believes Jones is out of the running to compete for the title next; “(Jon) Jones is out of the picture.” Lewis explained.
Picking up a pair of decision wins over both Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi, Lewis then became the most prolific knockout artist in the history of the UFC’s heavyweight division at UFC Vegas 6 last August, scoring a second round finish over Aleksei Oleinik.
Firmly stamping his title aspirations for the second time, Lewis recovered from a slow start in the opening round against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Vegas 19 in February, to stop the Elevation Fight Team wrestling ace with a brutal right uppercut in the second frame.