UFC President Dana White has come out and said Derrick Lewis, not Jon Jones will be next in line to challenge new UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
White spoke with The Ringer's Bill Simmons on his show The Bill Simmons Podcast about the failed negotiations with Jones, claiming the former UFC light heavyweight champion wanted $30 million for a potential fight with Ngannou and that Lewis is the deserving next contender for the first crack at the Cameroonian champion.
“We tried to work with Jon, and we eventually have to move on because realistically, and in all honesty, Derrick Lewis is the guy who deserves the fight,” White said (h/t MMAJunkie). “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 deal, he’s talking he wants $30 million guaranteed. The way that this works is these guys all share in the pay-per-view…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.”