Francis is going to fight Lewis sometime this summer. After that, he’ll likely fight either Stipe or Jon Jones. If it’s Jon next, the fight will likely take place early 2022 (Jon said no fights this year for him) and so the winner would be ready to fight once again around mid 2022. There is no way Stipe can just sit out and wait that long at his age. Guys pushing 40 can’t just take 15 months off and come back and not get absolutely smoked by a champ. Likewise, if Stipe is next then Jon will have sat out for well over two years. If he can’t get the money he wants, it’s not like years of inactivity will increase his bargaining power. And it’s also unlikely he’d want to just keep training and staying in top form for all this time when he has no fight scheduled. I am fairly certain whichever one of them doesn’t get the next fight will retire this year.