It doesn’t appear that the UFC is going to give in to Jon Jones demands for a higher payday to accompany his move to heavyweight.
Recently, UFC president Dana White proposed a matchup between Jones and ex-champ Stipe Miocic while Francis Ngannou defends his crown in a rematch against Derrick Lewis later this summer. Jones balked at that option in a series of tweets he later deleted.
At Saturday’s UFC 262 post-fight press conference, White claimed that Jones’ Octagon return is based primarily on the Jackson-Wink MMA representative’s desire to compete. If Jones doesn’t agree to the UFC’s terms, White made it sound like he’s at peace with the former light heavyweight champ never returning to the Octagon.
“Listen, that’s up to Jon Jones, whether he wants to fight or not,”White said. “There’s fights available. They’re here. I’m gonna keep making fights every weekend, doing fights.
“If Jon Jones wants to fight, he can. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t have to. Nobody’s gonna force Jon Jones to fight. He’s had a great run. He’s got an incredible legacy. I personally see him as the GOAT right now. You’ve got guys that are nipping at his heels like [Kamaru] Usman and some other guys out there. You know, it’s up to him. He can fight this summer, or he can never fight again. I mean, that’s up to him.”
White has repeatedly stated that he believes Jones’ legacy is secure without a heavyweight championship, and he reiterated that claim on Saturday night.
“I mean, he could do it,” White said. “That’s like (Tom) Brady going out and winning another Super Bowl with the Bucs. Obviously going up to heavyweight, it would be tough to argue – if he wins the title – that he’s not the GOAT. But right here, right now, he could retire, and I still consider him the GOAT right now until somebody else accomplishes what he has.”
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