Francis Ngannou last fought for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in January 2018. Over two years have passed since then and he's fought a total of four times, losing to Derrick Lewis in an underwhelming fight and then returning to knock out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos in the first round.
He's essentially cleared out the division without being Champion, all while Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have been competing for the title (with Derrick Lewis getting a somewhat impromptu title shot in between). The two are expected to conclude their trilogy this summer, all while Ngannou has been waiting.
The Cameroonian contender spoke to MMA Junkie about waiting for a title shot and he admitted that he doesn't know what to think about the entire situation anymore:
“Honestly about that, I don’t even know what to think anymore,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “We can speculate, like assume whatever we want to, but only the UFC knows what happened and when would that happen. I mean, I’m not surprised, the only thing is, it’s kind of bizarre to be in a division that the title is not running. The title is stopped, so we don’t even know if it’s going to happen or when. Maybe in six months, in one year, or when.”
He said it's a stressful thing and he doesn't want to think about it anymore, which is why he's focused on his upcoming opponent on March 28th - Jairzinho Rozenstruik:
"Being right around there, expecting it, it’s kind of a stressful thing, so I don’t want to think about it anymore,” Ngannou said. “At least now, I have something to focus on, even though it’s not exactly what I wanted. But yeah, I stay focused on Rozenstruik, and that keeps my mind busy.”
He said that a title shot shouldn't be guaranteed. Instead, it should be given to an athlete if he deserves it.
“In the right world, title shot should not be something that has to be guaranteed,” Ngannou said. “It will just be something if the athlete deserves it. If he puts himself in the spot for it, then he gets it.”
There's no doubting Ngannou's case for a title shot and he's the favorite heading into his clash with the rising Surinamese contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik in Columbus. Should he beat Rozenstruik, there will be no denying him a title shot and he will most likely get his rematch with Stipe Miocic should the Champion retain against Daniel Cormier.
As for the chances of him facing Cormier, it seems unlikely. Cormier stated that he plans for the Miocic trilogy fight to be the last of his illustrious career.Published 27 Feb 2020, 13:15 IST