Reigning GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven is one of the baddest dudes on the planet and is more than willing to prove it.
During a time in combat sports when many fighters are lobbying for crossover superfights, the towering Dutchman has decided to throw his hat into the ring. After producing a 3-0 record in 2017 and expanding his current win streak to a career best nine, Verhoeven is looking to challenge some of the best heavyweights in mixed martial arts (MMA) moving forward.
One of the first names to pop up on Rico’s radar is none other than rising UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou, who is coming off a Knockout of the Year performance against former K-1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem at UFC 218.
“It’s not like he’s the best striker, but Francis Ngannou… I don’t know what this guy’s doing, but God damn, he’s decapitating guys in there,” Verhoeven said in a recent interview with BJ Penn Radio. “I just love love the way he’s fighting right now, but I would also love to see him go for a second and third and fourth round and see how he does there after a few rounds. For now, he’s doing real good. He’s doing real good and I wish him all the best, who knows, maybe somebody we’re gonna fight each other…”
As if Ngannou wasn’t enough, Verhoeven is also hoping to get his hands on current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic hasn’t lost since dropping a decision to Junior dos Santos back in 2014 and has finished all five of his recent victories by way of knockout.
“I’m open for any cross, mixed fight, you know?” Verhoeven said. “For example Stipe. You know, you gotta fight champions. Champion versus champion, the kickboxing king versus the king of heavyweight MMA. You know, a cross fight. I jump into MMA and then he jumps into kickboxing, boom, that’s what I’m calling a promotion, that’s a big fight.”
Miocic is currently slated to defend his UFC heavyweight title opposite Ngannou at UFC 220 on Jan. 20 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside TD Garden in Boston, Mass., as he attempts to set the divisional record for most consecutive title defenses (3).
Considering GLORY has direct partnership with UFC and airs its events on UFC Fight Pass, a potential clash between Verhoeven and Ngannou/Miocic isn’t entirely out of the question. And when you consider how shallow the UFC’s heavyweight division has become, allowing the champion to take a shot at Verhoeven wouldn’t hold things up too much.