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Who Could Be The Next Heavyweight World Champion In UFC

Who Could Be The Next Heavyweight World Champion In UFC?

Francis Ngannou is set to be out of action until late 2022 at the earliest and he may even have had his last appearance in the UFC, as his contract is set to expire at the end of the year.

If Ngannou does end up walking away from the brand at the end of his current deal, here are three men who could be set to challenge for the UFC’s heavyweight crown.

Jon Jones

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has not featured in the octagon since February 2020, but he has been linked with a return to the sport, with the aim of winning the heavyweight title. Jones is considered to be one of the best UFC fighters in history. Many have ‘Bones’ at the very top of that list, as he dominated the light heavyweight division during his reign as champion, with 14 title fight wins going his way.

The 34-year-old has been involved in a number of spats with Ngannou and UFC fans would love to see a fight between the two men. However, if it can’t be made, Jones could contest for the interim title in what would be his first fight in the division.

Stipe Miocic

Another man who is ranked highly on many UFC fans and pundits’ all-time greatest fighters list is Stipe Miocic. He has held the heavyweight title for the longest streak in history. That was ended when he was stopped by Ngannou in March 2021.

Given what he achieved in the UFC, Miocic deserves another shot at his former title. The two-time heavyweight champion does have a win over Ngannou. He has also beaten Daniel Cormier twice.

The American is second in the heavyweight rankings behind Ciryl Gane. His career record is an impressive 20-4. At the age of 39, he is running out of time in the sport. The former firefighter has been linked with a clash with Jones and that would allow him the chance to headline a UFC event one more time.

Derrick Lewis

Powerful puncher Derrick Lewis is very similar in fighting style to Ngannou. He improved his record to 26-8 at the end of 2021 when he defeated Chris Daukaus by KO and in the process he broke the UFC record for the most knockout wins with the 13th stoppage of his career.

Lewis is third in the UFC heavyweight rankings. He has had two championship fights but he lost both of those as Cormier defeated him in 2018 by submission, while, more recently, Gane stopped him for the interim belt in 2021.

The 36-year-old is expected to face Australian Tai Tuivasa next. Victory in that contest would help him push for another world title shot. He will be hoping it is third time lucky if he does get another opportunity.

The UFC is likely to announce the next steps in the heavyweight division once they are clearer on Ngannou’s future. It could be that they announce a fight for the interim title if they believe the current champion can’t feature again in 2022.

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