After Francis Ngannou ended Stipe Miocic's title reign in the heavyweight battle at UFC 260, the next logical step is for him will be to take part in a super fight against Jon Jones, arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter the sport has ever seen.
UFC president Dana White would not, for a second, hesitate to turn a Jones-Ngannou dream match into reality. In fact, he wanted to "make that fight right now" if he could have his way.
Barring injuries and other such turns of events, the MMA world should get their wish of witnessing a fight between two of the biggest superstars in the UFC today. Here's a preview of what could possibly play out if a showdown between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou takes place.
Francis Ngannou's motivation
Francis Ngannou's greatest achievement thus far has been knocking out Stipe Miocic and becoming the new UFC heavyweight champion. How could he possibly top that? By becoming the only man to hand Jon Jones a defeat, of course.
During UFC 260's post-fight press conference, Francis Ngannou revealed that he's already welcoming the idea of fighting Jon Jones next:
"For my opinion, Jon Jones is the greatest of all time for mixed martial arts. Him moving up is going to be a good thing. He's a challenge I will take and will be very good on my resume. But this time he will be the challenger, I'm the champ. He's coming up looking for me. I will be here ready to fight in July or August."
Francis Ngannou's path to victory
Much like he did with Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou would have to neutralize Jon Jones's advantage in the wrestling department. The way he defended against Stipe Miocic's takedown attempts is an encouraging sign for fans of the Cameroonian heavy-hitter.
It's no secret that Francis Ngannou's game plan would be to put Jon Jones to sleep. Whether he could implement that would be dependent upon his timing, endurance, and wrestling defense.
At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou proved that he's been getting better at grappling–which was the most glaring hole in his game. More than that, Francis Ngannou also displayed significant improvement in his striking. He utilized a combination of head kicks and leg kicks, along with his signature haymakers, to avoid being predictable on the feet.
If Francis Ngannou can continue leveling up in the same manner, he might prove once and for all who the baddest man on the planet really is when he faces Jon Jones.
Jon Jones's motivation
Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones expressed his willingness to face Francis Ngannou immediately after the main event of UFC 260 had concluded. Apparently, all Dana White has to do to make the mega-bout happen is to cut a giant, Francis Ngannou-sized check for Jon Jones.
"Show me the money," Jon Jones said on Twitter. But for Jon Jones, a massive payday should only be his secondary concern. His main motivation should be to take his stellar legacy to even greater heights. Defeating Francis Ngannou will solidify Jon Jones's status as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) in MMA.
As it is, Jon Jones already has the resume of the greatest pound-for-pound UFC fighter. But by beating Francis Ngannou, he'll be untouchable. Such an accomplishment will put him leaps and bounds ahead of other greats such as Georges St. Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson.
Jon Jones's path to victory
Jon Jones won't have the size and strength advantage in a potential matchup against Francis Ngannou. But he's clearly the more technically sound and well-rounded fighter.
Jones won't be able to overpower the Cameroonian giant and he probably wouldn't want to trade blows with him either. Jon Jones's key to victory would be to out-maneuver and out-class Ngannou.
In 2018, Stipe Miocic wore Francis Ngannou down by putting him on his back and keeping him there for five rounds. Miocic was looking for a repeat performance in UFC 260 but failed the second time around.
Jon Jones, however, is easily the best wrestler in the sport, hands down. With the right preparation, it's hard to imagine why Jon Jones couldn't impose his will on any man he's standing against. Even if that man is Francis Ngannou.