Francis Ngannou has vowed to put more activity into the heavyweight division as its new reigning champion, and he plans on keeping that promise.
Ngannou dethroned the former heavyweight champ in Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 last Saturday, but it took some time to get to that fight. Injuries and the completion of a trilogy with Daniel Cormier had Miocic occupied for nearly two years, which saw the division come to a complete standstill. Ngannou wants to avoid this kind of inactivity again, so he is considering more than one option for his next fight.
Ngannou has repeatedly expressed interest in fighting former light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, for his first title defense, but issues between Jones and the UFC brass has put that option in a state of limbo. Jones wants to be paid, and so does Ngannou, but he does not want to hold up the division by waiting for these issues to be resolved.
“I want it to be, but once again, I don’t have a say on that,” Ngannou told Damon Martin of MMA Fighting. “I don’t know what’s going on between Jones and the UFC. I don’t know what is the matter, but once again, it is not my business. I just try to handle my own on my end, which is not easy as well for me. I just deal with myself. I would like for that fight to happen. I would love to have that fight, but as opposed to that fight, I won’t be sitting here waiting for some fight because that’s the only fight.
“There’s a lot of good fights out there. The roster right now is full of good contenders that you eventually want to fight. This is what I have been expecting just to stay active because in the past two years, I’ve only fought just like twice and I don’t want this to happen again. Also, I don’t want to be accountable for somebody else in the division not having a title shot because I’m holding onto it because I’m being inactive.”
If the fight with Jones does not materialize, then Ngannou is happy to revisit a familiar foe in Derrick Lewis. Ngannou and Lewis fought over two years ago at UFC 226 in a fight that was advertised as a striker’s delight since both men were well-known for their ability to knock out just about anyone. However, the fight did not live up to those expectations as Ngannou and Lewis opted to use more reticent approaches that saw the fight go all three rounds. Lewis won by unanimous decision, but the fight was panned.
Ngannou believes a rematch between him and Lewis will go differently as their motivations have changed since the first meeting.
“There’s so much fights out there, such as with Derrick Lewis. I think this will be a good fight since we never gave the fans what they were expecting to see. Yeah, that would also be a good fight to have.
“Basically, after a few years, thinking about that and being in the line for the title and being the champion and him wanting that belt for the second time as well, I think there is going to be a lot of drive in this fight and a lot of frustration that will make it be way more different.”
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