Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title challenger, Francis Ngannou, is expecting to earn another crack at the 265-pound strap held by Stipe Miocic, who regained his division crown by stopping Daniel Cormier earlier this month in Anaheim.
While the promotion may consider booking a Miocic-Cormier rubber match, or slide Jon Jones into a potential heavyweight super fight, “The Predator” believes his past three wins — all knockouts — trump anything “DC” or “Bones” have to offer.
“I deserve it based on my last three performances,” Ngannou told MMA Fighting. “I’m just expecting the title shot. Then whatever happens between ‘DC’ and Stipe, if they decide to solve it, I don’t have a problem with that. I will be excited to see that trilogy but right now I have to fight for the title, which makes sense.”
Ngannou (14-3) was soundly defeated by Miocic when they first went to war at UFC 220 back in early 2018, a performance that exposed the Cameroonian’s shaky cardio, as well as his fight IQ. After failing to score the early knockout, “The Predator” was taken down at will and beaten to a pulp.
“My biggest change would be not to underestimate Stipe as I did before,” Ngannou said. “The difference would be how to prepare to fight and then how to [condition] my body in training camp as a challenger. How to set up everything compared to the first time. Once again, the first time was a mess. I didn’t know what I was doing there. It helped me to understand a lot of things. It helped me to learn. To know how things work.”
The 32 year-old power puncher has certainly distanced himself from his last defeat, but has yet to face an opponent who challenged him the way Miocic did. We may not know just how far Ngannou has come until they run it back a second time.
Which is unlikely to happen before Cormier decides his next move.