Jackson-Wink MMA mainstay, coach Mike Winkeljohn has distanced former two-time light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones from a heavyweight divisional bow against former two-time division kingpin, Stipe Miocic — echoing claims that Jones is only interested in the biggest challenges at the weight class.
Jones, who has been continuously linked with a move to the promotion’s heavyweight division — vacated his light heavyweight crown in August of last year ahead of a proposed heavyweight move, with sights set on a title tilt against the victor of the UFC 260 championship re-run between Miocic and Francis Ngannou.
However, once Batie native, Ngannou emerged with the gold via a stunning second round knockout victory, the kibosh was almost immediately put on the pairing — with Jones and the UFC involved in some rather public negotiation woes.
One-time undisputed title chaser, Derrick Lewis was then outlined as the first challenger to past-opponent, Ngannou’s throne, however, that bout failed to come to fruition.
Following the introduction of a hugely questionable interim title for last weekend’s UFC 265 headliner — which was scooped by the undefeated French standout, Ciryl Gane — the future title aspirations of Jones and Miocic have been thrown into question.
Ngannou and Gane are slated to meet in a heavyweight title unification bout, while UFC president, White claimed prior to Saturday’s event that Jones had been offered a fight with Miocic.
“Me and (Jon) Jones have had that type of relationship his whole career,” White said during an appearance on the Nelk Boys’ Full Send podcast. “When he’s (Jones) ready to fight we are ready to go. He’s talking about fighting at heavyweight. But, in the heavyweight division right now we are going back to Houston, Derrick Lewis is talking on Ciryl Gane and whoever wins that fight will fight Francis Ngannou. Whoever wins that fight, if Jon Jones wants to come back he can fight one of them. Or, he can fight Stipe Miocic. Stipe has accepted that fight and will take that fight.“
Following UFC 265 last weekend, White claimed that he doesn’t expect to see Jones feature in the Octagon until next year at the very least, however, the former Octagon gold holder’s coach, Winkeljohn recently claimed that his student isn’t interested in fighting Miocic.
“I would like to think that wouldn’t excite Jon (Jones),” Winkeljohn spoke of a matchup with Miocic during an interview with Submission Radio. “Jon wants the big one, he wants the big challenge. And right now, Stipe’s (Miocic) not there. Stipe’s awesome, don’t get me wrong, but Jon wants the biggest challenge out there, that’s how Jon Jones thinks.“
Out of action since February of last year, Rochester native, Jones headlined UFC 247 against two-time title challenger, Dominick Reyes at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas — narrowly defending his undisputed light heavyweight title with a close, often-debated unanimous decision victory.
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