Francis Ngannou frustrated
Following UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic’s unanimous decision victory over Daniel Cormier in their trilogy bout this past August, it was clear that Francis Ngannou, who Miocic outpointed in 2018, was next in line to challenge for the title.
Since losing to Miocic, “The Predator” has gone 4-1 with wins over the likes of Curtis Blaydes, former champions Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozentruik. To make matters even more impressive, all four of those victories came by way of stoppage, and all four fights combined to last less than three minutes.
It’s clear that a rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou is the fight to make and UFC President Dana White has said that he’s targeting the bout for March. A date has yet to be confirmed, however, and Ngannou, who hasn’t competed since May, is growing frustrated.
“It’s been a lifetime [since I last fought],” Ngannou told MMA Fighting. “It’s still kind of like frustrating even though I’m trying to take it out of my mind knowing that I can’t do nothing to change it. Even before fighting in May, I’ve been through this same story, this same situation and it got me ready to face it again. I was waiting for Stipe and D.C., who was in August and obviously I was expecting something in December. That’s why after their fight, I just came back from Cameroon expecting maybe sometime in December because it’s four months away, or maybe January at the latest, I might have a fight.
“Obviously, now I don’t know. What I know, they just said March but it’s not official. Who knows. Who knows how that will play out.”
Although 2020 has been an unpredictable year, Ngannou certainly has a point here, as he’s spent very little time in the cage in recent years, thanks primarily to his tremendous punching power, and has made it clear since May that he’s ready to fight.
It wouldn’t make much sense for the 34-year-old to accept anything other than a title fight though, so waiting for Miocic appears to be his only option, but that doesn’t mean he’s all that pleased about it.
“My only thing with that trilogy is that [Stipe] has been holding the heavyweight division up for a long time,” Ngannou said. “There hasn’t been a title fight in this division for two years except for those between Stipe and D.C. and other than that there hasn’t been a fight with contenders, which is what contenders fight for. To fight for the title but there is no title going on in this division. I don’t how long that is going to last. I’m sure it’s not just me saying that. Other contenders who also feel the same way because if there’s not a title fight, contenders they’re not moving on. They’re just fighting without purpose. Without a real goal.”
Ultimately, it’s likely that this fight will take place sometime next year and that the division will get back on track. Until then, Ngannou can only wait and he admits that doing so isn’t helping him to stay motivated.
“I just want to fight next,” Ngannou said. “It’s been seven months since my last fight. I don’t know exactly for sure when is my next fight. It’s kind of like really hard to find motivation and everything. Even when you’re training and don’t have motivation. It’s kind of a little bit hard.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.