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Chael Sonnen labels Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou the 'biggest fight in the industry'


As the year 2023 begins, former two-division UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has identified what he believes to be the biggest possible MMA fight.


Former dominant light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who Sonnen was defeated by back in 2013, is on one side of the fight. "Bones" has been absent from the Octagon since vacating the title in search of a new challenge at heavyweight following a successful defense against Dominick Reyes in 2020.


Sonnen provided his assessment of the heavyweight title picture in a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel.


Rumor had it that UFC planned a interim title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic at December's UFC 282 pay-per-view which failed to materialize, the promotion will possibly turn its attention to booking "Bones" opposite reigning champion Francis Ngannou.


If that pairing comes together this year, Sonnen believes the UFC will have the opportunity to promote the biggest fight in MMA history.


“We have three heavyweights… Who gets left out?” Sonnen said. “I’m talking about Francis, I’m talking about Jones, I’m talking about Stipe… Dana said, ‘When Jon comes back, he does it at heavyweight and his first fight back will be a title fight.’ He’s never wavered on that.


“If that statement is still accurate, I think that Jon’s safe (from being left out)… Francis appears to be safe in that he hasn’t been stripped,” Sonnen added. “We heard the rumor that Jones and Stipe were going to fight for an interim championship. We’ve heard a rumor that Jones and Curtis (Blaydes) were going to fight… Jon Jones versus Francis, I think, is the biggest fight you can put on in our industry.”


With that, it appears the stumbling block to Jones’ 2023 return will be Ngannou’s place in the promotion. While he’s been on the sidelines for a year owing to knee surgery, “The Predator” has also been locked in a contractual dispute that will likely come to a head soon enough.


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