Two of the top names in heavyweight MMA were fighting under the same roof at Atlanta’s Overtime Elite Arena for the 2023 PFL 5. Jones was there to corner his training partner Maurice Greene, who participated in the main event against Ante Delija, the 2022 season winner.
Ngannou, who just inked a lucrative agreement with the PFL that includes the freedom to box as well as spearheading an African push for the promotion, was also present to watch the heavyweight fights and discuss his signing during the broadcast.
UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones believes he is superior to Francis Ngannou inside the cage, but he does not see the need to maintain the hatred.
Both fighters then acknowledged the mutual respect between one another before Ngannou called for them to fight each other.
“You know you don’t want no smoke,” Jones said, before Ngannou replied: “You know I want all the smoke.”
“With the one true king,” Jones continued.
“I’ve always been king, since the day I started this and I’m gonna die a king.”
In terms of the pair fighting, Jones said: “We could’ve saw, but you left.”
But, Ngannou quickly clapped back: “Oh no, you sat back for three years.”
Jones was questioned backstage at the event, and despite their previous Twitter spats and crashing interviews to take shots, he indicated he’s cool with Ngannou.
“I’ve met Francis before, he’s a sweetheart of a guy,” Jones is reported to have told ESPN. “Outside of the fight game, he’s a pretty respectful guy. I can be pretty respectful as well. I’m looking forward to seeing the brother and giving him some knuckles.
“… If we’re not fighting, there’s no reason to have a bunch of beef, especially when we see each other in person. It’s cool to talk trash and keep the fans excited and stuff like that, but if there’s no fight contract, we’re bros at the end of the day.”
Ngannou can be heard claiming he wants to fight Jones one day, to which Jones responds with “we’ll see” and questions Ngannou’s wrestling and jiu-jitsu abilities.
The pair are unlikely to fight while still under contract with separate promoters.