Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis

UFC reportedly “kicked the tires” on Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis, Ngannou declined

It seems like the UFC is very serious about finding another opponent for newly crowned heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou if they can’t come to terms with Jon Jones on a super fight. Immediately after Ngannou claimed the title at UFC 260, there were calls for Jones to be the next opponent for the new champion, building what would be one of the biggest fights in heavyweight history, if not UFC history, seeing the former light heavyweight champion move up looking to add a new weight class title to his resume.

As the chatter around a possible Ngannou vs Jones fight started, UFC President Dana White threw a curveball in the post-fight press conference, saying that if they couldn’t reach an agreement with Jones, they would turn to Derrick Lewis as a possible opponent for the champion, in a rematch from their 2018 fight, which was less than entertaining.

Both Ngannou and Lewis have expressed an interest in running back a rematch between them, and according to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, the UFC recently “kicked the tires” on a potential Ngannou-Lewis matchup for June, but the champion turned it down.

More importantly however could be the follow-up from Helwani, which seemed to suggest that the UFC does not seem willing to meet Jones’ asking price, at least for now. With Jones and the UFC far apart in negotiations, Helwani notes that the UFC could look to book a Ngannou-Lewis fight later this Summer or early Fall.

During his rise to the title, it didn’t seem like many people were lining up to face Francis Ngannou, but with a title opportunity and big payday looming for opponents, the champion is in a good place. It is because the champion is in a good place, the UFC knows it can go to Lewis if they don’t reach an agreement with Jones, or Jones if the price is right, or even a trilogy with the former champion, Stipe Miocic.

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