Rising UFC heavyweight title contender Francis Ngannou has drawn the short end of the stick after Junior dos Santos was pulled from their UFC 215 meeting on Sept. 9 due to a potential United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation. While Ngannou and JDS have since cleared the air, the surging Frenchman still needs a replacement opponent for UFC 215.
Considering the UFC’s heavyweight division is one of the shallowest classes around it’s going to be difficult to bring in someone to fight “Predator” on just three weeks notice. But that doesn’t mean Ngannou can’t lobby for a replacement opponent himself, as the 30-year-old recently called out former UFC title challenger Alistair Overeem via Twitter:
@Alistairovereem been mentioning my name everywhere . I'm now open and free for you guy . Let do this at #ufc215— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 19, 2017
Overeem, 37, is coming off a decision victory over former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum back at UFC 213. Before that, he finished Mark Hunt via knockout back in March. While Overeem is the perfect type of opponent to not only test Ngannou’s ability atop the division but also fill in for a recognizable draw like dos Santos, “The Reem” is unlikely to accept an ultra-important divisional clash with little time to prepare.
At the end of the day, there are few fighters who would want to fight this guy on 21 days notice:
Ready for #ufc215 pic.twitter.com/pmRkK1N1vl— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 15, 2017
As of now, Ngannou is off the card entirely. UFC may be able to find a late replacement outside of the top 10, but that doesn’t necessarily bode well for someone in Ngannou’s title-hunting position.
UFC 215 will air on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and feature a main event clash between UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and top contender Ray Borg, as well as a women’s bantamweight title fight pitting champion Amanda Nunes against surging striker Valentina Shevchenko.
For more UFC 215 fight card news click here.