RIO DE JANEIRO – Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane will battle for the vacant UFC heavyweight championship now that Francis Ngannou has relinquished his title and parted ways with the promotion, and UFC middleweight titleholder Alex Pereira expects “Bones” to be successful in his quest for more gold.
Jones hasn’t entered the octagon since February 2020, defending his 205-pound throne for the final time in a close decision win over Dominick Reyes, and has teased a potential move to heavyweight ever since. Jones finally re-enters the cage against Gane in the main event of UFC 285 in Las Vegas on March 4.
” I think he is really coming to domine,” Alex Pereira stated in an interview with MMA Fighting, when asked about Jones’ plans against heavyweight opponents. “It’s never easy, but I think this fight will be much harder than if he had fought Ngannou. Ngannou would be stronger than Jon Jones and would like to exchange punches with Jon Jones. Jon Jones has great defense and is extremely experienced so Jon Jones could beat Ngannou [easier]..
” This fight [with Gane] will be a little more difficult for him but I think he’ll win. 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.”
Meanwhile, Ngannou is focused on securing a match with boxing champion Tyson Fury. Pereira isn’t expecting Ngannou will be as successful in squared circles, despite the fact that it could prove to be very lucrative for him, who beat Gane and Stipe Miocic in their final six octagon appearances.
“It depends if he’s fighting the elite,” Pereira said. “[Boxing against] Tyson can be hard. It’s suicide. … There are other guys for him to start. [He can go] one step at a time. He’ll only think about money if he truly wants to defeat those men. I don’t if that’s the case. It’s difficult to state that I’m there to win, but it’s not possible
Ngannou does have impressive knockout power, but Fury has shown great chin and heart throughout his impeccable 33-0-1 career in boxing.
“[Boxing] someone who can defend from his punches, [Ngannou] would get tired,” said Pereira, a former two-division kickboxing champion in GLORY who transitioned full-time to MMA and became UFC champion in one year.
“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. The most important thing .”
to me is knowing how you can defend yourself.