Monday, September 20, 2021

Francis Ngannou hints at free agency

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Francis Ngannou once again expressed his frustration at the current state of the UFC heavyweight division and his position within it.

Ngannou is currently riding an impressive three fight winning streak, including victories over former champions Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez – defeating both men via first round knockout. Following these victories, Ngannou feels that his next fight should be for the heavyweight title, however as we reported yesterday, the UFC are planning on booking a trilogy fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier before anyone else gets a shot at the belt.

During his interview with Helwani, The Predator mentioned that he had spoken to the UFC about getting a title shot. “I asked about the title shot and they said they have a trilogy between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier and they don’t know exactly what’s going to happen because Miocic is recovering from an eye injury. So here we are.”

In what came as a bit of surprise, Ngannou went on to mention that he is so frustrated with his current position that he may begin to look elsewhere at the end of his UFC contract. Stating that he “has options” and “cannot stay like this”. It would be a big loss for the UFC as Ngannou is one of the few legitimate contenders in the heavyweight division currently and the company have invested a fair amount of time and money into building his reputation.

Ngannou on his way out?

The number two ranked contender also discussed when we could next see him in the Octagon and who would be standing across from him, addressing the numerous callouts from Jairzinho Rozenstruik following his victory over Alistair Overeem this past weekend. “At this point, I don’t have many options, so yes, I’m interested as long as I have a fight, I can fight. He made himself very clear and loud about his desire to fight me.”

There has been a mixed reaction to Ngannou’s comments online, with some fans feeling like he sounds entitled and feel that he hasn’t yet earned a second title shot, the stench of his loss to Miocic and dismal performance against Derrick Lewis still not quite clear. This is definitely an understandable perspective, while Ngannou has fought four times since his loss to Miocic, we haven’t seen much (if any) of his ground game in that time, which is one of they key aspects that led to his loss when fighting for the belt.

However it’s also easy to sympathise and understand why he is so frustrated, there are no clear fights left in the division for Ngannou. He is currently the number two ranked contender, he has already knocked out number three (Curtis Blaydes) and number four (JDS). As mentioned above he has already fought Derrick Lewis who is currently ranked number five. Leaving his only options for fights being the sixth and seventh ranked contenders, one of which has already turned down two fights with him previously.

It would certainly be interesting to see Ngannou move away from the UFC, he would be a huge coup for any promotion that was able to sign him, just thinking about him moving over to Bellator and facing off against some of the legends that they have in their heavyweight division… I’m starting to think that it sounds like a good idea.

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Adam Nisbet
Living on the emotional rollercoaster that comes with being a Newcastle United fan, Adam also keeps a keen eye on the NBA, UFC and Formula One.

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