The UFC heavyweight division seems to be gearing up for an eventful year, with Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou reportedly being eyed for March and the winner taking on Jon Jones.
“The UFC wants Stipe Miocic to defend the heavyweight title against Francis Ngannou in March. The title fight isn’t a done deal yet, but that is definitely what the promotion wants," ESPN's Ariel Helwani said. "I’m told. In a perfect world, the UFC would like for the winner of that fight to defend the belt against Jones in the summer, sources said.”
Miocic hasn't fought since defending the heavyweight championship against Daniel Cormier at UFC 252, where he won by unanimous decision. Ngannou has been wreaking havoc in the division for some time now, most recently knocking out Jairzinho Rozenstruik emphatically in 20 seconds of round one at UFC 249. Miocic and Ngannou have crossed paths before, with Miocic coming out on top and halting Ngannou's momentum at UFC 220.
Should the fight go ahead as planned, the UFC plans to grant the winner the former light-heavyweight champion Jones. "Bones" hasn't fought at heavyweight and after relinquishing the title shortly after his win over Dominick Reyes, said he would be taking a few months off to recover and has been adding weight to his physique to help him with bigger opponents.
Just got off the phone with @Ufc, today I confirm that I’m vacating the light heavyweight championship. It’s officially up for grabs. It’s been an amazing journey, sincere thank you to all my competition, Ufc and most importantly you fans.— BONY (@JonnyBones) August 17, 2020
The UFC has run into trouble in trying to book a fight for Jones as he claimed he wanted to be paid similar to Deontay Wilder gets paid and also for the extra risk of taking strikes from the likes of Miocic and Ngannou. The heavyweight division has needed clarity since Cormier and Miocic began their trilogy with some people in the MMA community feeling it was being held-up. We now have clarity on what Dana White wants. Let's hope it all materializes as such.