Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title contender, Francis Ngannou, is not going to be fighting for the 265-pound strap until reigning division kingpin, Stipe Miocic, finishes his trilogy with former champion, Daniel Cormier.
How long that takes, remains to be seen.
In the interim, “The Predator” can’t seem to find an opponent willing to engage. Alexander Volkov would be a solid choice based on the division rankings; however, Ngannou claims “Drago” already turned that fight down on multiple occasions.
“Just for the record, Volkov turned down the fight against me twice,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “One was July 2017 and August 2018. He clearly denied to fight me. The UFC have made it clear for everybody that I’m who you have to fight if you want to fight for the title. But how about me fighting for the title? It doesn’t seem to be in the talk, so that’s exactly what the UFC has made me appear, to be the gate holder. And, yeah, I think Volkov is dodging me clearly. That’s not a secret that he’s dodging me.”
Volkov (31-7) has won seven of his last eight — five under the UFC banner — including last weekend’s unanimous decision win over Greg Hardy on super short notice. “Drago” is currently ranked No. 6 at 265 pounds, tied with Alistair Overeem.
Who just so happens to be on the Russian’s radar.
As for Ngannou (14-3), he was schooled by Stipe Miocic in the UFC 220 main event back in early 2018, then turned in a mid-summer stinker against Derrick Lewis. Since then, “The Predator” has rattled off three straight wins with three violent finishes.
That’s a dangerous gate for any contending heavyweight.