Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou was forced to undergo knee surgery to repair an injury suffered in his UFC 270 training camp, which could sideline “The Predator” until the end of the year (assuming he comes back at all).
As a result, the promotion may consider another interim title to keep the assembly line moving. The leading candidates to battle for the substitute strap are ex-heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and former light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones.
No. 7-ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik has something to say about that.
“In my opinion all those guys should wait – Stipe, Jon Jones,” Rozenstruik told The AllStar. “They’ve been talking a lot about them but they don’t do nothing. Come and fight and then you should earn your place. People that have been fighting, keeping the division running, those guys should get the shot for the interim title, not people sitting around, waiting, and blah blah blah all the time. Let’s go. We’re working, let’s fight.”
The promotion is unlikely to make a decision until it sorts through this mess.
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) has not competed since his unanimous decision victory over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 back in early 2020. In his absence, Rozenstruik fought five times and headlined two major UFC events, but only managed a 2-3 record against top competition.
As for Miocic (20-4), he’s averaged one fight per year over the last four years and stands at 2-2 with a pair of knockout losses during that span. If Rozenstruik defeats Marcin Tybura at UFC 273 in April, then you could certainly make a case for “Bigi Boy” versus Tai Tuivasa for the interim heavyweight strap.