As he waited in the wings for a long-awaited rematch with Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou waited for the trilogy between Miocic and former champion Daniel Cormier to get completed, but it doesn’t seem he’s interested in having his own trilogy with Miocic. After capturing the UFC’s heavyweight title from Miocic at UFC 260 this month with a mesmerizing second-round KO over Miocic, the newly-crowned champion is not looking to run it back with the most decorated heavyweight champion in UFC history.
Immediately after UFC 260, both Ngannou and UFC President Dana White made it clear that former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would likely be next in line for a heavyweight title fight against the new champion. With reaction rolling in quickly from Jones and several others, White would put a twist on things, saying if Jones and the UFC couldn’t come to an agreement, Derrick Lewis could easily step up and be the next title challenger.
With there now becoming uncertainty as to who the next title challenger for Francis Ngannou will be, the new champion made it clear that there are only two opponents he wants: Jones and Lewis, not Miocic. During an interview with Damon Martin of MMA Fighting, Ngannou discussed why he wants Jon Jones to be next, but realizes there are issues between Jones and the UFC that need to be worked out, he just won’t wait around for them to be resolved.
“I want Jon Jones to be my next fight but once again, I don’t have a say on that. I don’t really know what’s going on with Jones and the UFC. I don’t know what is the matter but once again, it’s not my business. I just try to handle my end, which is not easy as well for me. I just deal with myself. I can’t tell Jon Jones what he has to do. I would like to have that fight but I won’t be sitting here waiting for some fight because it’s the only fight.”
With Jones and the UFC going back and forth due to contract negotiations, Ngannou says if they can’t get it figured out, he’s more than willing to face Derrick Lewis for his first title defense. Ngannou and Lewis fought in a very uneventful contest back at UFC 226, but both fighters have expressed a big desire to run it back, and change the narrative of a fight between the two.
“There’s so much fights out there for instance with Derrick Lewis since we never give the fans what they were expecting to see. That is also a good fight to have.”
When it comes to changing the narrative on the fight between the two, Ngannou says he believes both he and Lewis are in a different place as they were compared to their first matchup, and that will call for a better fight in a potential second meeting.
“Basically after a few years thinking about that fight and being in line for the title and being the champion and him wanting that belt for the second time as well, I think there is a lot of drive in this fight and a lot of frustration to make it way more different.”
With potential global superstardom surrounding Francis Ngannou and his new reign as UFC heavyweight champion, any fight he is involved in will call for big money from both sides, and he understands that.
“I think everybody wants to get paid, whether it’s in the UFC or in the office, everybody that’s walking would like to get paid. That’s just obvious.”
There’s no doubting Francis Ngannou has plenty of options as his reign as UFC heavyweight champion begins, and while the decisions may not all be up to him, he’s ready for whoever the UFC throws his way.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews, BJPenn.com, and TheScrap.Co while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and works as an Associate Producer on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel.
With a special passion for interviewing and talking to some of the very best around the fight game, you can read or listen to Mike’s work across his multiple outlets.
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