Dana White has "absolutely moved on" from placing Jon Jones in the heavyweight division title bout with Francis Ngannou, the UFC president told TMZ Sports.
Jones, a former lightweight title holder, has interest in fighting Ngannou, the reigning champion, but hasn't been able to come to a deal with UFC in negotiations. It would be one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
"I've absolutely moved on," White told TMZ Sports. "Listen, I put on fights every Saturday. We have a window where we try to build some fights and make some things happen. If the fights don't happen within that window, we move on. And realistically, I mean I've been saying that since the beginning Derrick Lewis is the guy who should be getting his title shot. He's the guy that's beat Francis Ngannou. He's next in line, he's coming off great performances. And that's a wrap, we're moving on."
Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) won the heavyweight title on March 27 with a knockout of Stipe Miocic. He and Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) traded barbs in April regarding a potential fight.
Why won't UFC schedule Jones-Ngannou fight?
White said the fight might not happen back in April during an appearance on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" (via The Athletic). He said they tried to work with Jones, but had decided it might be best to move on. He added that Lewis deserved the fight and that Jones had asked for too much in negotiations.
"In his deal, he’s talking he wants $30 million guaranteed," he said on the podcast. "The way that this works is these guys all share in the pay-per-view. … He will share in the profits of the fight. That's how it works. That's how you run a business, and you don't go broke."
Jones tweeted later that he had never discussed wanting $30 million and asked, "is someone speaking with you on my behalf or..."
Jon Jones could go out on top 'undefeated'
There's always the chance Jones' UFC career ends. White said that's "up to Jon," but he could "absolutely fight again at 205 pounds."
"There's nothing wrong with going out on top either — Jon Jones is undefeated, he's never been beat," White told TMZ Sports.
"For those people that don't know, you see that 1 loss on his record, he didn't lose that fight; he won that fight in dominant fashion like most of his fights. It was a time when the Nevada Athletic Commission was at its weakest and there was a referee that shouldn't have been in there and he stole that fight from Jon Jones. So, it wouldn't be a bad thing for him to go out on top."
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