No one knows exactly what number Jon Jones wants to see in a contract to fight Francis Ngannou, but his coach Mike Winkeljohn believes it could be massive.
Talking to Shipping radio, Winkeljohn believes that given the magnitude of a showdown between newly crowned heavyweight champion Ngannou and longtime heavyweight king Jones, the fighters could be looking at a Floyd Mayweather Jr. level pay day.
Jones and UFC President Dana White are currently embroiled in a public war of words over negotiations for the hypothetical fight, with White wondering if Jones’ comments on social media indicate he may not want to fighting Ngannou and Jones responds furiously with a demand that the UFC release him.
Winkeljohn sees the fight against Ngannou-Jones as potentially lucrative for all parties involved, especially if the UFC is willing to shell out Jones ’big money.
“Wow, I look at the big fights,” Winkeljohn said (transcript via Shipping radio Denis Shkuratov). “I think this fight can be so easy [big as] some of Mayweather’s great struggles out there. What did Floyd Mayweather do? One hundred million? I do not know. You know, that kind of thing. [Mayweather] he was a kind of promoter of his. So Jon has to share this with the UFC as far as pay-per-view purchases are concerned.
“But I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a $ 50 million fight. And the UFC still does banking and can pay off a lot of the debt they have and move on. I think the UFC needs a superstar like Jon Jones. I think Conor [McGregor] he was the boy for a while, and he has fallen. But these big names are the ones who make money in the UFC, ultimately. ”
Winkeljohn has not had an in-depth conversation with Jones about his activity on social media, but he is confident that Jones has a plan even if it is not obvious to the general public. He added that Jones’ coaches and team are “one hundred percent” behind him.
However, he also does not contrast with White for his handling of the situation.
“You know what, Dana is the best in the world in the field of wrestling, there’s no doubt about it,” Winkeljohn said. “And for a reason. Jon is the best in the world in terms and for a reason. So, of course, everyone was theirs [way]. It is to be expected. This is the game. There’s a fighting game where you have to fight Francis and at the same time you have that game, the UFC. They have to decide how much they want to sell so many payments per view and how much Jon Jones is worth to them to sell so many payments per view.
“And Jon has to decide, where is this moment when I am motivated to take that risk to continue in my legacy and be the best I have ever played. Because there is always a risk. Someone can always slip and fall. People can fall into the tub. Something can always happen. So, is it worth the risk? How much money is it worth to take that risk? “
With Ngannou now firmly rooted as one of the most popular names in all of MMA, he has options outside of Jones, with former opponent Derrick Lewis as the clearest option. Ngannou is as eager to be seen sharing the cage with Jones as anyone else, but he has no desire to hold the heavyweight division if negotiations between Jones and the UFC drag on.
Until the air clears between Jones and White, Winkeljohn cannot say for sure if the long-held desire for the fight comes to fruition.
“Oh, it’s a mess,” Winkeljohn said. “As I said, no one knows but the two at the end of the day. What Dana is willing to give and what Jon is willing to take, no one knows more than these two. So now it’s in the air. See me. Who knows, there may be a fight in the middle, just to keep the negotiations going. But I think finally, in my heart, the fans want to see it, that’s the fight they want to see.
“They want to see the scariest man; in my opinion I think Jon Jones is the scariest, but in his mind, because he has that power at once, Francis is the scariest man there is. They want to see how he fights the “I will tell you what, I think, understanding strategy and knowledge, technique, endurance exceeds strength any day.”
Watch Winkeljohn’s interview with Shipping radio low: