Terrifying knockout artist Francis Ngannou is running out of options in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Ngannou, who defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik earlier this month at UFC 249 to claim his fourth straight first-round knockout finish, would have already locked down his second UFC title shot if the road to the belt wasn’t already log jammed. That’s because current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is unable to train and compete during the COVID-19 outbreak (no matter how much we cry about it), and former division king Daniel Cormier has the first crack at Miocic in a trilogy bout when he returns.
Ngannou was linked to a potential superfight with UFC light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound legend Jon Jones earlier this week, but that idea was shot down pretty abruptly by UFC brass.
So where does that leave Ngannou now? With limited options at his disposal the hulking knockout sensation can only wait.
“I think the UFC needs to do something and make a title fight happen,” Ngannou told BJPENN.com. “I don’t know when the pandemic will end. No disrespect to Stipe because he’s a well-deserved champion but the division needs to move on. The division can’t be held down any longer. Whatever it takes, and whatever the UFC has to do to make the division move on has to be done. It’s almost been a year since the last title fight and who knows when the next title fight will happen.”
If the UFC decides to “move on” from Miocic, who is widely considered the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history, that could mean a vacant title shot for Ngannou. And if Miocic is no longer part of the equation then “DC” will be open for business.
“First of all, I would be very happy to fight Cormier. He needs to the trilogy with Stipe as his retirement fight so there was no point of me calling him out,” he said. “But, he came out himself and said he would do the fight with me. It would be an honor for me to fight him. I see myself walking out with my hand raised.”
Ngannou may be confident in a potential clash with Cormier, who has no reservations about fighting the division’s most feared striker, but he also acknowledges that “DC” would be a tougher matchup that Miocic. That’s because Miocic wasn’t able to finish “Predator” in their first title fight back at UFC 220 and Ngannou believes Cormier would have.
“Honestly, I am more confident in a rematch against Stipe than I am to fight Cormier. I think Cormier is a bigger challenge for me than Stipe,” he explained. “I’ve been in there with Stipe and he couldn’t finish me. If that was DC he would’ve finished me. I was done, I couldn’t move and Stipe still couldn’t finish me. I think if I fight Stipe again, I’ll have more knowledge and how to beat him.”
This is obviously not the most ideal situation for Ngannou, who has fought just once in the past year, but he will have to wait his turn in the UFC’s unforgiving heavyweight division. Just know that when the option is on the table for “Predator” to fight for the title again the promotion will not balk at the idea of potentially having the scariest fighter in the world as champion.
What say you, Maniacs? Who does Ngannou fight next? How does he do?
Let’s hear it!