Ngannou Calls His Shot
After three straight wins, two of which coming against former UFC champions, Francis Ngannou called dibs on the next shot at UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic.
Ngannou, who was pushed as the heavyweight division’s uncrowned king when the two fought in 2018, was handled easily by Miocic. That loss nearly shattered Ngannou’s confidence, leading him to lose his second straight fight against Derrick Lewis at UFC226, in what is statistically the worst fight in UFC heavyweight history.
After hitting rock bottom, Ngannou hit back, dropping up-and-comer Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos in his last three fights, giving the fighter enough confidence to say he’s more deserving than former champion Daniel Cormier.
“My concern is not about Daniel Cormier having a trilogy,” Ngannou said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “They can have a trilogy or a four-ogy or a five-ogy, whatever they want to. My concern is just about my turn, about my title fight. I can fight Stipe and then the fight after [can be the trilogy] I don’t have no problem with that. My only problem is me fighting for the title. I deserve it.
“I deserve it based on my last three performances. I’m just expecting the title shot. Then whatever happens between DC and Stipe, if they decide to solve it, I don’t have a problem with that. I will be excited to see that trilogy but right now I have to fight for the title, which makes sense.”
“I was very impressed. I did not expect that fight to go that way,” Ngannou said of the UFC 241 main event that saw Miocic reclaim the heavyweight title. “That impressed me, both of them. That was a very, very good fight. It was very exciting to watch. As I said, it made me proud of my division because you feel like you are really challenging people. The challenge is high, so it makes you more excited.
“I knew everything could happen at any moment. Even though they were pushing each other, this is heavyweight, and anything can happen at any moment. Something like that we expect. Actually, when [Stipe] started setting up the uppercut to the body, I felt like something was going to happen. DC was feeling it. He was hurt. It’s breaking him down.”
Looking back at their first fight, Ngannou feels like he’s learned from his mistakes and that when the time comes, he’ll be ready.
“The biggest difference now is that I have increased my experience and I understand more about the fighting game. My biggest change would be not to underestimate Stipe as I did before,” Ngannou said. “The difference would be how to prepare to fight and then how to [condition] my body in training camp as a challenger. How to set up everything compared to the first time.
“Once again, the first time was a mess. I didn’t know what I was doing there. It helped me to understand a lot of things. It helped me to learn. It helped to understand a lot of things. To know how things work.”
Initial Report: MMA Fighting