JON JONES VS. CYRIL GANE OFFICIAL FOR UFC 285, FRANCIS NGANNOU RELEASED

Timothy JamesTimothy James
March 18, 2023

Jon Jones will fight Cyril Gane for the heavyweight title and Francis Ngannou is no longer in the UFC.

The speculations were spot on. Francis Ngannou has relinquished his UFC title – leaving the opening for a heavyweight super fight between Jon “Bones” Jones and Cyril Gane.

During the broadcast of UFC Vegas 67, a viral image of the T-Mobile Arena set the MMA world on fire: the marquee displayed a promo for UFC 285, featuring Jon Jones against Cyril Gane for the heavyweight title.

There were no confirmations at the time – but rumors began circulating that Francis Ngannou was leaving his UFC strap behind to explore new options. As it turns out, the rumors were true; Dana White confirmed the news during the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference.

“We offered Francis [Ngannou] a deal that would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the company,” Dana White said during the presser. “More than Lesnar, more than anybody. And he turned the deal down.”

“We’re going to release him from his contract,” White continued. “We’re going to give up our right to match and he can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”

Where Francis ends up remains unclear – but a recent post on his Instagram featured a family member wearing a PFL shirt. With the recent signing of Jake Paul and a promise to deliver fighters the biggest paycheck possible, the PFL seems like a likely landing spot for Ngannou.

Meanwhile, footage of Jon Jones stating he was ready to stake his claim in a new division also came out during UFC Vegas 67. During the video, Jones states that he’s “just a few weeks out from my first heavyweight championship against Cyril Gane.”

White stated during the presser that the UFC tried to make Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou happen, but couldn’t get a deal done. Luckily for them, Jones was willing to fight anyone – happily accepting the fight against Gane.

Jones has been teasing a move up to heavyweight since as far back as 2013. It is now a reality – the man many consider to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all time will test the waters in the heaviest weight class – against one of its fiercest competitors.

Across from “Bones” will be the fighter that represents the best heavyweight has to offer. Cyril Gane came into the UFC undefeated, and remained as such until he lost to Francis Ngannou at UFC 270. The man moves like a welterweight with the heavy hands of a heavyweight, and will undoubtedly be Jon Jones’ toughest test to date.

The decade-long wait to see Jon Jones compete in the UFC heavyweight division is almost over. It came at the expense of one of the scariest knockout artists the company has ever seen, but as the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. The rumors are true, the contracts are signed, and Jon Jones will be competing for the heavyweight title against Cyril Gane at UFC 285.

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