UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has vacated his title and left the promotion, setting up a fight between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane for the vacant belt. UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira is confident that “Bones” will win the fight and add another championship to his collection.
After Jones successfully defended his 205-pound title in a tight decision win over Dominick Reyes in February 2020, he has hinted at a possible move to heavyweight but has not competed in an MMA bout since then. On March 4, Jones will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon to face Gane in the main event of UFC 285, which will take place in Las Vegas.
When asked about his thoughts on Jones competing against heavier opponents, Alex Pereira responded in an interview with MMA Fighting by saying, “I think he’s really coming to dominate, It’s never easy, but I think this fight will be much harder than if he had fought Ngannou. Ngannou is stronger and would want to trade punches with Jon Jones, and Jon Jones is very experienced, has great defense, so I think Jon Jones would beat Ngannou [easier].
“This next fight [with Gane] is a bit harder for him, but I also think he wins. It’s a bit more difficult because [Gane] is smart, and a bit more scared in a good way, not to come trading with Jon Jones, which makes him a more difficult fight.”
As all is going on, Ngannou is concentrating on getting a fight with boxing champion Tyson Fury. Although if that fight has the potential to be very beneficial for the man who has won his last six octagon bouts (Gane, Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Curtis Blaydes), Pereira does not anticipate Ngannou to be very strong in the boxing ring.
“It depends if he’s fighting the elite,” Pereira said.
“[Boxing against] Tyson is hard. It’s suicide. … There are other guys for him to start. [He can go] one step at a time. If he really wants to fight those guys, then he’s just thinking about the money. I don’t know if that’s the case. But to say ‘I’m going there because I want to become champion,’ that’s hard.”
Although Ngannou possesses incredible knockout power, Fury has proved throughout his flawless 33-0-1 career in boxing that he has a terrific chin and a lot of heart.
“[Boxing] someone who can defend from his punches, [Ngannou] would get tired,” stated Pereira.
“I”ll give you a dumb example: If you ask someone who’s never trained in in his life to go against someone experienced and tell him to hit as hard as he can to knock him out, he’ll gas out in three minutes, and then one weak punch will knock him out since he has no defense anymore and can barely stand still. To me, knowing how to defend yourself is the the most important thing.”