Home / Sports / Ariel Helwani on why now’s the time for the UFC to guide Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou

Ariel Helwani on why now’s the time for the UFC to guide Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou

Identical to that, lifestyles feels a little bit extra standard, proper?

3 UFC occasions in 8 days will undoubtedly do this.

After two months of uncertainty, we are again to arguing about past due/early stoppages, identify pictures and all of the wacky, amusing stuff that makes being an MMA fan such a lot amusing.

It additionally method I’ve a large number of ideas. So with out additional ado …

1. I’ve determined that I’m all-in on Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou. This took a large number of soul-searching, however I’m right here to proclaim that I am bought. I would like it to occur. It must occur.

I made this resolution Monday night time. For per week prior to that, I did not like the theory. I did not adore it as a result of I believed Jones vs. Dominick Reyes 2 was once the combat to make. I believed Jones had trade to wait to at gentle heavyweight, and it would not be truthful to Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, the opposite best contender at 205 kilos, for the champ to unexpectedly transfer as much as heavyweight. A 12 months in the past, certain. However now not now. Jones’ most up-to-date two performances gave me critical doubts about whether or not he may dangle with the elite at heavyweight.

Then I remembered that I used to be the primary particular person within the media — or one of the most first — to signify that Jones transfer as much as heavyweight to combat Ngannou. Let me be transparent: The theory of Jones transferring up has been mentioned for years, however remaining 12 months, after his win over Thiago Santos, I mentioned Jones will have to transfer as much as combat Ngannou — now not combat for the belt however check the waters in opposition to one of the most department’s absolute best and spot the way it is going.

For those who recall, Jones teased us remaining 12 months by way of speaking a few Stipe Miocic combat at heavyweight, just for us to determine he had agreed to combat Santos already. That wasn’t great. So he has been doing this for some time now, and there was once part of me that concept he was once simply trolling us once more. However this turns out extra actual. (No less than, I am hoping it’s.) It sort of feels like Jones is down for the problem, and this turns out like one thing that are meant to be explored. I am all-in.

2. Why? It is freaking Jones vs. Ngannou. Arguably the best ever, undoubtedly the best gentle heavyweight champion ever, as opposed to the blazing-hot, hard-hitting Ngannou, who has seemed like the second one coming of Mike Tyson in recent years. What is to not love? This could be one of the most highest fights to promote for the UFC as a result of how Ngannou seems to be and fights and as a result of the truth that Jones hasn’t ever actually been defeated and hasn’t ever fought at heavyweight. The theory of Jones in the end transferring up is intriguing sufficient. If he have been combating some scrub heavyweight, other folks could be intrigued. However Ngannou? How may you now not love that?

three. Glance, Ngannou has not anything higher occurring. He is the unusual guy out within the Miocic-Daniel Cormier saga. So we all know he’s excellent to head. Jones, for his phase, has gave the impression a little bit bored at 205 in recent years, despite the fact that the contest has turn into stiffer for him. A motivated Jones is a deadly Jones, and this turns out to have him motivated. And so, for a majority of these causes, I am in. I believe dangerous for Reyes, however we now have been speaking about Jones transferring as much as heavyweight for goodbye — and I have been speaking about this actual matchup for goodbye — that we want to strike now.

Now, if Jones is messing with us once more, so assist me God …

four. Price noting, I am advised the UFC hasn’t engaged in critical talks about this combat with both birthday celebration. Sudden? Now not actually, and this is why.

(a) The promotion simply completed a actually busy two-week stretch. Not anything else mattered to the oldsters on the UFC instead of pulling off the ones 3 occasions in Jacksonville, Florida, within the most secure, healthiest and best approach as a result of they knew that such a lot of eyes have been on them. Upcoming fights, particularly ones that may most likely require a little bit bit — or so much — of negotiations, have been put at the again burner. I think we will begin to see an entire lot extra summer season fights made now.

(b) There may be additionally a excellent, out of date sport of rooster occurring. You notice, when Jones tweets about his hobby on this combat, he is not doing it to get the lovers’ consideration and even Ngannou’s. He is doing it to get the UFC’s consideration. And his intentions appear very transparent: He’s keen to do that combat, however he desires to receives a commission. Simply have a look at his tweets. He is not hiding from this truth. The UFC sees this, and the matchmakers know that if they arrive to him first, he’ll really feel like he has all of the leverage. That is why they have not mentioned a lot about it, and that’s the reason why Dana White, when requested concerning the combat throughout Saturday’s postfight information convention, did not appear all that into the theory. Clearly, the UFC would like to make this combat occur. It likes being profitable. The combat could be large. However the UFC does not wish to appear, as the children say, thirsty. And neither does Jones. If he makes the primary transfer, he comes throughout as determined, so he will simply proceed with the tweets. It’ll be attention-grabbing to peer who breaks first.

five. All I do know is Jones and Ngannou have long past too deep now. Neither has a combat booked. The lovers love the whole thing a few matchup between the 2. If the UFC finally ends up reserving Jones in opposition to any other gentle heavyweight subsequent, it’ll really feel like a large unhappiness. There is not any turning again.

6. Additionally it is value noting that if global commute restrictions persist, the cabinet is set to turn into actually naked for the UFC. I imply, have you ever noticed the UFC 250 lineup? A marquee combat akin to Jones-Ngannou could be a present from the MMA gods, taking into consideration how intriguing it’s and the truth that each males are living in the USA.

7. What do you do with Reyes, you ask? Ebook him in opposition to Blachowicz in a No. 1 contender combat. Turns out simple sufficient, no?

eight. I would not hate the theory, by way of the way in which, of the UFC instituting a brand new rule wherein if a champion strikes up or down in weight — to combat any other champion or somebody else — she or he has to relinquish the identify. I do know this is able to impede the promotion of the ones attractive champion vs. champion fights, however I believe it is not truthful when contenders have to take a seat and wait when they’re so on the subject of figuring out their desires of combating for a belt. There is no highest resolution, however I believe for individuals who are left at the outdoor.

nine. Talking of champions, has a struggle sports activities retirement been treated worse than Henry Cejudo‘s? For all we all know, he may by no means combat once more. I wish to consider that he was once being trustworthy when he mentioned he was once completed after his win over Dominick Cruz two weekends in the past. I additionally suppose his causes for retiring within the Octagon have been legitimate sufficient. However then he began speaking about cash on the postfight information convention, and he picked a combat with boxer Ryan Garcia on social media. Now it sort of feels like this was once all a ploy to get more cash from the UFC.

play

2:27

Brett Okamoto and Ariel Helwani speak about Henry Cejudo’s retirement announcement, with Helwani now not believing Cejudo is stepping away.

10. I believed the 3 displays in Jacksonville have been entertaining for probably the most phase. Here is whose inventory rose within the ultimate two displays:

(a) Alistair Overeem: His resolution to coach with Elevation Combat Staff in Denver has confirmed to be an overly smart one. As he starts his 40s with 92 professional MMA/kickboxing fights underneath his belt, I’m stunned that his chin has held up so smartly and stunned by way of the evolution of his sport.

(b) Walt Harris: I’m blown away by way of the grace and sophistication with which he treated the whole thing main as much as and after his combat in opposition to Overeem.

(c) Glover Teixeira: That was once a cast win for the 40-year-old, his fourth in a row. If Reyes and Blachowicz combat for a No. 1 contender spot, Teixeira must be proper in the back of them. Additionally, how may you now not love a man who apologizes to his opponent midfight for beating him up?

(d) Drew Dober: I am a large believer in Dober. He’s an absolutely other fighter than the person who entered the UFC seven years in the past. Talking of which …

(e) Elevation Combat Staff: We want to communicate extra about what is going on in Denver. This squad is house to Overeem, Dober, Justin Gaethje, Curtis Blaydes, Cory Sandhagen and Neil Magny, amongst others. Elevation is on some more or less roll.

(f) Brian Kelleher: The Lengthy Island product entered UFC 246 in January at the ultimate combat of his contract and on a two-fight shedding streak that had noticed him stopped in each fights. He beat Ode Osbourne at the undercard of McGregor vs. Cerrone, were given a brand new contract and knocked out Hunter Azure on Wednesday. What a distinction a few fights make.

(g) Others: Cortney Casey, who regarded actually excellent at 125, Kevin Holland, who has simply scratched the outside, and Chase Sherman, who hastily were given a 2d probability within the UFC and made probably the most of it.

11. You already know whose inventory did not pass up remaining week? MMA officers. That incorporates referees and judges — however principally the judges. I believed the scorecards were given the primary 4 fights of Saturday’s major card mistaken, and it wasn’t simply the ones 4 fights. There have been a number of wacky scorecards far and wide. I wonder whether the judges with the ability to listen the commentators and the corners so obviously affected their decision-making. That is the best factor I will call to mind. If this is the case, I wonder whether anything else will likely be accomplished to modify this as a result of although MMA judging is continuously erratic, those contemporary selections had been a little bit too unpredictable for my liking.

12. Every week later, I believe the similar approach concerning the Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira combat. Briefly, it went on too lengthy. Arguably 8 to 10 mins too lengthy. I admire the truth that Smith does not suppose it will have to had been stopped. I admire the truth that, as he advised me Tuesday, he has advised his cornermen that he’ll fireplace them in the event that they ever prevent a combat. However that does not imply you’ll’t say it was once reckless and/or egregious to let Smith take that a lot harm when he was once obviously injured. The referee, Jason Herzog, got here out of the placement having a look elegant after creating a remark taking all of the blame. Herzog is without doubt one of the absolute best referees within the sport. It was once great of him to do this. However I am hoping he did it as a result of he supposed it — now not as a result of he was once getting warmth on-line.

play

2:15

Anthony Smith tells Ariel Helwani he is happy his nook did not name his combat off vs. Glover Teixeira as a result of he does not need that more or less legal responsibility in any individual else’s arms.

13. Can I get started a motion to mix the Might 30 card with the UFC 250 card on June 6? I do know the UFC desires to make up for misplaced time, however I believe that pay-per-view wishes a little bit beefing up. Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns, which is scheduled to be the Might 30 major match, could be a welcome boost to the next week’s pay-per-view lineup.

14. I think we will in finding out this week if the UFC can resume retaining occasions in Nevada. I imply, we need to in finding out this week, proper? Subsequent week could be Woodley-Burns combat week. I comprehend it’s demanding to stay observe of time this present day, however it is a little bizarre that the cardboard is 10 days away, and we nonetheless do not know the place it’ll happen. After all, the very best answer could be to carry it on the Apex in Vegas.

Identical to that, lifestyles feels a little bit extra standard, proper?

3 UFC occasions in 8 days will undoubtedly do this.

After two months of uncertainty, we are again to arguing about past due/early stoppages, identify pictures and all of the wacky, amusing stuff that makes being an MMA fan such a lot amusing.

It additionally method I’ve a large number of ideas. So with out additional ado …

1. I’ve determined that I’m all-in on Jon Jones vs. Francis Ngannou. This took a large number of soul-searching, however I’m right here to proclaim that I am bought. I would like it to occur. It must occur.

I made this resolution Monday night time. For per week prior to that, I did not like the theory. I did not adore it as a result of I believed Jones vs. Dominick Reyes 2 was once the combat to make. I believed Jones had trade to wait to at gentle heavyweight, and it would not be truthful to Reyes or Jan Blachowicz, the opposite best contender at 205 kilos, for the champ to unexpectedly transfer as much as heavyweight. A 12 months in the past, certain. However now not now. Jones’ most up-to-date two performances gave me critical doubts about whether or not he may dangle with the elite at heavyweight.

Then I remembered that I used to be the primary particular person within the media — or one of the most first — to signify that Jones transfer as much as heavyweight to combat Ngannou. Let me be transparent: The theory of Jones transferring up has been mentioned for years, however remaining 12 months, after his win over Thiago Santos, I mentioned Jones will have to transfer as much as combat Ngannou — now not combat for the belt however check the waters in opposition to one of the most department’s absolute best and spot the way it is going.

For those who recall, Jones teased us remaining 12 months by way of speaking a few Stipe Miocic combat at heavyweight, just for us to determine he had agreed to combat Santos already. That wasn’t great. So he has been doing this for some time now, and there was once part of me that concept he was once simply trolling us once more. However this turns out extra actual. (No less than, I am hoping it’s.) It sort of feels like Jones is down for the problem, and this turns out like one thing that are meant to be explored. I am all-in.

2. Why? It is freaking Jones vs. Ngannou. Arguably the best ever, undoubtedly the best gentle heavyweight champion ever, as opposed to the blazing-hot, hard-hitting Ngannou, who has seemed like the second one coming of Mike Tyson in recent years. What is to not love? This could be one of the most highest fights to promote for the UFC as a result of how Ngannou seems to be and fights and as a result of the truth that Jones hasn’t ever actually been defeated and hasn’t ever fought at heavyweight. The theory of Jones in the end transferring up is intriguing sufficient. If he have been combating some scrub heavyweight, other folks could be intrigued. However Ngannou? How may you now not love that?

three. Glance, Ngannou has not anything higher occurring. He is the unusual guy out within the Miocic-Daniel Cormier saga. So we all know he’s excellent to head. Jones, for his phase, has gave the impression a little bit bored at 205 in recent years, despite the fact that the contest has turn into stiffer for him. A motivated Jones is a deadly Jones, and this turns out to have him motivated. And so, for a majority of these causes, I am in. I believe dangerous for Reyes, however we now have been speaking about Jones transferring as much as heavyweight for goodbye — and I have been speaking about this actual matchup for goodbye — that we want to strike now.

Now, if Jones is messing with us once more, so assist me God …

four. Price noting, I am advised the UFC hasn’t engaged in critical talks about this combat with both birthday celebration. Sudden? Now not actually, and this is why.

(a) The promotion simply completed a actually busy two-week stretch. Not anything else mattered to the oldsters on the UFC instead of pulling off the ones 3 occasions in Jacksonville, Florida, within the most secure, healthiest and best approach as a result of they knew that such a lot of eyes have been on them. Upcoming fights, particularly ones that may most likely require a little bit bit — or so much — of negotiations, have been put at the again burner. I think we will begin to see an entire lot extra summer season fights made now.

(b) There may be additionally a excellent, out of date sport of rooster occurring. You notice, when Jones tweets about his hobby on this combat, he is not doing it to get the lovers’ consideration and even Ngannou’s. He is doing it to get the UFC’s consideration. And his intentions appear very transparent: He’s keen to do that combat, however he desires to receives a commission. Simply have a look at his tweets. He is not hiding from this truth. The UFC sees this, and the matchmakers know that if they arrive to him first, he’ll really feel like he has all of the leverage. That is why they have not mentioned a lot about it, and that’s the reason why Dana White, when requested concerning the combat throughout Saturday’s postfight information convention, did not appear all that into the theory. Clearly, the UFC would like to make this combat occur. It likes being profitable. The combat could be large. However the UFC does not wish to appear, as the children say, thirsty. And neither does Jones. If he makes the primary transfer, he comes throughout as determined, so he will simply proceed with the tweets. It’ll be attention-grabbing to peer who breaks first.

five. All I do know is Jones and Ngannou have long past too deep now. Neither has a combat booked. The lovers love the whole thing a few matchup between the 2. If the UFC finally ends up reserving Jones in opposition to any other gentle heavyweight subsequent, it’ll really feel like a large unhappiness. There is not any turning again.

6. Additionally it is value noting that if global commute restrictions persist, the cabinet is set to turn into actually naked for the UFC. I imply, have you ever noticed the UFC 250 lineup? A marquee combat akin to Jones-Ngannou could be a present from the MMA gods, taking into consideration how intriguing it’s and the truth that each males are living in the USA.

7. What do you do with Reyes, you ask? Ebook him in opposition to Blachowicz in a No. 1 contender combat. Turns out simple sufficient, no?

eight. I would not hate the theory, by way of the way in which, of the UFC instituting a brand new rule wherein if a champion strikes up or down in weight — to combat any other champion or somebody else — she or he has to relinquish the identify. I do know this is able to impede the promotion of the ones attractive champion vs. champion fights, however I believe it is not truthful when contenders have to take a seat and wait when they’re so on the subject of figuring out their desires of combating for a belt. There is no highest resolution, however I believe for individuals who are left at the outdoor.

nine. Talking of champions, has a struggle sports activities retirement been treated worse than Henry Cejudo‘s? For all we all know, he may by no means combat once more. I wish to consider that he was once being trustworthy when he mentioned he was once completed after his win over Dominick Cruz two weekends in the past. I additionally suppose his causes for retiring within the Octagon have been legitimate sufficient. However then he began speaking about cash on the postfight information convention, and he picked a combat with boxer Ryan Garcia on social media. Now it sort of feels like this was once all a ploy to get more cash from the UFC.

play

2:27

Brett Okamoto and Ariel Helwani speak about Henry Cejudo’s retirement announcement, with Helwani now not believing Cejudo is stepping away.

10. I believed the 3 displays in Jacksonville have been entertaining for probably the most phase. Here is whose inventory rose within the ultimate two displays:

(a) Alistair Overeem: His resolution to coach with Elevation Combat Staff in Denver has confirmed to be an overly smart one. As he starts his 40s with 92 professional MMA/kickboxing fights underneath his belt, I’m stunned that his chin has held up so smartly and stunned by way of the evolution of his sport.

(b) Walt Harris: I’m blown away by way of the grace and sophistication with which he treated the whole thing main as much as and after his combat in opposition to Overeem.

(c) Glover Teixeira: That was once a cast win for the 40-year-old, his fourth in a row. If Reyes and Blachowicz combat for a No. 1 contender spot, Teixeira must be proper in the back of them. Additionally, how may you now not love a man who apologizes to his opponent midfight for beating him up?

(d) Drew Dober: I am a large believer in Dober. He’s an absolutely other fighter than the person who entered the UFC seven years in the past. Talking of which …

(e) Elevation Combat Staff: We want to communicate extra about what is going on in Denver. This squad is house to Overeem, Dober, Justin Gaethje, Curtis Blaydes, Cory Sandhagen and Neil Magny, amongst others. Elevation is on some more or less roll.

(f) Brian Kelleher: The Lengthy Island product entered UFC 246 in January at the ultimate combat of his contract and on a two-fight shedding streak that had noticed him stopped in each fights. He beat Ode Osbourne at the undercard of McGregor vs. Cerrone, were given a brand new contract and knocked out Hunter Azure on Wednesday. What a distinction a few fights make.

(g) Others: Cortney Casey, who regarded actually excellent at 125, Kevin Holland, who has simply scratched the outside, and Chase Sherman, who hastily were given a 2d probability within the UFC and made probably the most of it.

11. You already know whose inventory did not pass up remaining week? MMA officers. That incorporates referees and judges — however principally the judges. I believed the scorecards were given the primary 4 fights of Saturday’s major card mistaken, and it wasn’t simply the ones 4 fights. There have been a number of wacky scorecards far and wide. I wonder whether the judges with the ability to listen the commentators and the corners so obviously affected their decision-making. That is the best factor I will call to mind. If this is the case, I wonder whether anything else will likely be accomplished to modify this as a result of although MMA judging is continuously erratic, those contemporary selections had been a little bit too unpredictable for my liking.

12. Every week later, I believe the similar approach concerning the Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira combat. Briefly, it went on too lengthy. Arguably 8 to 10 mins too lengthy. I admire the truth that Smith does not suppose it will have to had been stopped. I admire the truth that, as he advised me Tuesday, he has advised his cornermen that he’ll fireplace them in the event that they ever prevent a combat. However that does not imply you’ll’t say it was once reckless and/or egregious to let Smith take that a lot harm when he was once obviously injured. The referee, Jason Herzog, got here out of the placement having a look elegant after creating a remark taking all of the blame. Herzog is without doubt one of the absolute best referees within the sport. It was once great of him to do this. However I am hoping he did it as a result of he supposed it — now not as a result of he was once getting warmth on-line.

play

2:15

Anthony Smith tells Ariel Helwani he is happy his nook did not name his combat off vs. Glover Teixeira as a result of he does not need that more or less legal responsibility in any individual else’s arms.

13. Can I get started a motion to mix the Might 30 card with the UFC 250 card on June 6? I do know the UFC desires to make up for misplaced time, however I believe that pay-per-view wishes a little bit beefing up. Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns, which is scheduled to be the Might 30 major match, could be a welcome boost to the next week’s pay-per-view lineup.

14. I think we will in finding out this week if the UFC can resume retaining occasions in Nevada. I imply, we need to in finding out this week, proper? Subsequent week could be Woodley-Burns combat week. I comprehend it’s demanding to stay observe of time this present day, however it is a little bizarre that the cardboard is 10 days away, and we nonetheless do not know the place it’ll happen. After all, the very best answer could be to carry it on the Apex in Vegas.

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