The beef between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou has really hit the fire in recent days. It all began when Jones called out Ngannou over his "baddest man on the planet" after Ngannou announced he had signed with the PFL. Ngannou responded, prompting Jones to tweet more barbs about the Cameroonian fighter.
The following day, Ngannou responded in more depth, saying that he would be more than open to fighting Jones. Furthermore, he claimed that his desire to fight Jones had been stymied by the UFC. "He came with strings attached. That's what I would say. Jon Jones fight was coming with strings attached which was the thing that I couldn't take it just like that," Ngannou told TMZ.
Ben Askren Joins The Conversation
Ben Askren is a formidable fighter in his own right. 19-2 in his MMA career, he is a well-respected figure in the scene. He weighed in on the beef, going as far as to call out Jones. "Why I thought, 'Wow, this is really weird, almost hypocritical,' is Jon chose to be inactive for three years," Askren said on Daniel Cormier's YouTube channel. "He chose not to fight. I don't care what Jon does, (but) he chose not to fight for three years. Francis is in the UFC pretty much the entirety of that three years, and we've seen other people go up weight classes." He continued. "'The Stylebender' (Adesanya) did it and lost to Jan (Blachowicz) and went back to 185. So, we've seen other people do it.
"He had plenty of opportunity to fight Francis Ngannou, so now Francis Ngannou wants to say, 'I'm the baddest man on the planet.' I think he should be able to. Can Jon argue he is also? Sure. But Jon can't say, 'You can't do it.' Because Jon didn't fight him for three years. "I would choose Jon. I think Jon likely is the best guy," Askren said. "So my point of contention is, Jon was inactive while Francis was in the UFC and the champion. Jon could have said, 'Let's fight because I want to prove I am, without a shadow of a doubt, the baddest dude,' and it didn't happen. Francis can still leave, they never fought, and if he wants to say it for a little while, he can say it. I'm not mad at him."