UFC president Dana White says he is open to giving Jon Jones an interim heavyweight title shot with heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou out.
Ngnnou defeated former champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last year to capture the UFC heavyweight title. With Ngannou not ready to defend his belt in August at UFC 265, the UFC created an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis, which Gane won. Ngannou then fought Gane at UFC 270 in January of this year and he unified the heavyweight belts. However, Ngannou came out of the fight with bumps and bruises, as he is now set to have knee surgery, and he will likely miss the remainder of 2022 sitting out on the sidelines.
The UFC heavyweight title is arguably the most prestigious belt in the promotion, and the UFC likes to have a heavyweight champion at all times. With Ngannou out for the rest of the year — it’s no sure thing returns to the UFC once he recovers due to contractual issues with the promotion — the idea of an interim belt is being floated around. Speaking to ESPN in a recent interview, White confirmed an interim belt is a possibility.
“I haven’t thought about it but yeah, it sounds like something we would do,” White said of an interim title (h/t MMAMania.com).
If the UFC does do an interim heavyweight title bout, White says Jones could be one of the two men in it. Despite not having fought at heavyweight before, Jones is undoubtedly one of the sport’s biggest names.
“Not until we know what Francis is gonna do or what’s gonna happen, but if that’s the case, if he ends up sitting out for a year, Jon could come right in and fight for a title,” White said.
Jones hasn’t fought since February 2020 when he defeated Dominick Reyes in his final light heavyweight fight. He vacated his 205lbs belt after that in an attempt to move up to heavyweight, but due to legal issues and other issues, Jones has not stepped back into the Octagon in the two-plus years since the Reyes fight.
Do you think Dana White should create an interim UFC heavyweight belt with Francis Ngannou out, and do you believe Jon Jones should be one of the two men who fight for it?
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