UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is expected to face current interim 265-pound titleholder Ciryl Gane in the promotion’s January 2022 pay-per-view (PPV) event, which does not yet have an official date or location.
That’s according to coach Eric Nicksick.
“We’ve been hearing January,” Nicksick told The MMA Hour. “But you never know, man. Like, the UFC’s always willing to throw you a curveball and then, ‘Oh, guess what? You’re fighting Jon Jones now.’”
A “Bones” fight seems unlikely until this massive roadblock gets cleared.
Ngannou, who captured the crown from Stipe Miocic back in March, was expected to make his first title defense against heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis, but the promotion was unwilling to wait for “The Predator” and instead booked Lewis vs. Gane.
Gane stopped Lewis at UFC 265.
“Francis has just been in the gym training ever since,” Nicksick continued. “So he’s hungry. He’s motivated. I don’t want to put words in his mouth and say he’s disrespected, but the narrative I think is inherent that that’s how he’s going to feel. But for us, man, all the politics and all that stuff, you really can’t control [them], so I just feel like just getting your ass in the gym and working hard and good things will happen.”
Until then, the promotion will have to figure out what to do with this former champ.