Francis Ngannou‘s coach Eric Nicksick claimed that he doesn’t want Jon Jones to have a heavyweight fight before facing his pupil. It is customary for fighters to get a tune-in fight when they change weight classes or return after a long lay-off.
Jon Jones, the youngest champion in UFC history, has been inching closer to his heavyweight debut.
While there were rumors of him fighting former champion Stipe Miocic, Ngannou’s coach doesn’t want Jones to make adjustments and learn from his heavyweight debut:
“I don’t want Jon Jones to have the opportunity to fight at heavyweight and not be us [Francis Ngannou]. I don’t want him to figure out anything, I want him to make adjustments on the fly with ‘The Predator’.”
Eric Nicksick added:
“By giving him a chance to go fight at heavyweight, he gets to go back to the drawing board and make certain adjustments. Whether it’s strength and conditioning, or cardio or technical things, I want him to have to figure that sh*t out with us.”
Ngannou was last seen in the octagon against Ciryl Gane in their title unification bout at UFC 270. Ngannou displayed a fresh implementation of wrestling as his path to victory against ‘Bon Gamin’.
Watch Eric Nicksick’s interview with MMA Junkie below:
Francis Ngannou is targeting a 2023 return
Francis Ngannou has been sidelined from action owing to a knee injury he sustained while in preparation for his title unification bout against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. The injury happened during a sparring session with a young heavyweight.
‘The Predator’ suffered an MCL tear and partial ACL tear and has been slowly recovering from it. Speaking to ESPN MMA, Ngannou claimed that he’s targeting an early 2023 return:
“I’m thinking more like the beginning of next year. I’m not very strong on that knee yet. And how heavy I am is something I have to consider.”
Speaking about who he has in mind to fight next, Ngannou said:
“This is a sport in which landscapes can change fast. Right now, I can control only what I can control, getting myself healthy. That’s my focus right now.”
Watch the interview below: