Francis Ngannou not impressed with gated heavyweight division

#1 heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou spoke recently with the great Damon Martin for MMA Fighting, and expressed frustration that the title shot vs. division champion Stipe Miocic. Ngannou has not fought since KOing Jairzinho Rozenstruik in May. It earned his third performance bonus in four fights, in a combined time of 2:31. Miocic’s last three fights were vs. Daniel Cormier, a loss followed by two wins, the most recent in August. Ngannou has been told he will get his rematch in the first quarter of 2021, but there is no contract yet.

“It’s been a lifetime [since my last fight],” said Ngannou. “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.”

“My only thing with that trilogy is that [Stipe] has been holding the heavyweight division up for a long time. 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.

“Because when you’re a prospect, you fight to become a contender. When you’re a contender, you fight to be champion. Now, heavyweight contenders right now don’t really know what they’re fighting for. For those who are fighting, obviously. In my case, I’m not fighting. I can’t even dare say I’m fighting.”

Ngannou’s overall inactivity has definitely played a part in his growing discontent.

“At the end of the day, Stipe doesn’t decide much. I think the UFC is in charge of things. That’s why my last fight, we requested that to be an interim [title] fight so we can fight for something and if that would have been for an interim fight, I’m sure I would be fighting by now.

“Obviously, Stipe on his end wants to do things his way, which is what everyone wants to do. But it’s not for him to regulate the situation in the division. It’s not his duty.”

“I just want to fight next. 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.”

Listen to entire interview

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