Jon Jones is expected to make his heavyweight debut later this year.
But whether or not the former light heavyweight titleholder draws former division champion Stipe Miocic or current 265-pound kingpin Francis Ngannou remains to be seen. If retired middleweight Michael Bisping was calling the shots, it would be “The Predator.”
Because it may prove to be the easier fight.
“If he fights Stipe Miocic, there’s a reality that Stipe Miocic beats him,” Bisping said. “Let’s be honest. Stipe is the greatest heavyweight of all time. The most successful defenses, the most knockouts, knocked out Fabrício Werdum going backwards, stopped [Cormier] with body shots … and he beat Francis Ngannou as well. Some of the performances have been incredible. The man is a legend in his own right. So I think in a weird way, in terms of skill set and stylistically, Stipe Miocic could possibly be a harder fight than Francis Ngannou.”
Beating Miocic would be a nice feather in his cap but it won’t be adding any belts to the fireplace mantle. If Jones wants to join the ever-growing “champ champ” club, then he’ll have to fight Ngannou anyway, so he may as well eliminate the middle man.
And try not to get KTFO in the process.
“We know what Francis Ngannou offers, we know what he brings to the table,” Bisping continued. “It’s that freakish power. That power that just … if he connects with people, he puts you to sleep and he doesn’t even need to be a flush shot. Un-bloody-believable. The man’s got freakish knockout power, so that’s what Jones would have to avoid in that fight. I don’t think Jones has the power to hurt him on the feet … I would say fight Francis Ngannou. Him versus the heavyweight champ. That’s what he’s here to do, it’s the legacy.”
It’s also a sticking point in negotiations, so either fight comes down to dollars and sense.