Francis Ngannou is not a happy man. “The Predator” has emerged as the clear No. 1-contender for the heavyweight championship. However, with Daniel Cormier now wanting a retirement trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic, Ngannou will have to wait on the sidelines a bit longer.
But the African-born knockout artist doesn’t want to wait. He wants a fight now, and with gold on the line. Even if he did accept a non-title fight, the majority of the UFC’s top heavyweights are already booked. Those who are freed up don’t make much sense for Ngannou to fight at this point in time.
“They have to do something with me,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “OK, so what is that? I want the damn answer. I want to know what’s my position. I want to know what I’m doing here. I’m the No. 2 (heavyweight), and everyone is booked. I’m just here looking like, I don’t know, some guy desperate to get a fight.
“Actually, in my position, the only fight I’ll be running to is the title – but I don’t know if they want to make me run to any fight. Also, I wanted to fight before the end of the year. Like, it doesn’t matter who that is. I have to fight because I get that you guys don’t give much. But even though they don’t care, it’s kind of frustrating. Right now, it’s not something that I’m very happy to talk about. It’s been an exhausting process.”
Ngannou then went down the list of available candidates who could fight him, and why the matchups don’t necessarily make sense.
“It’s very frustrating right now, and I kind of (have to) think what to do, what is possible,” Ngannou said. “The only guy in the top 10 that is available right now, as I saw, is Shamil (Abdurakhimov). But Shamil just lost against Curtis Blaydes. Curtis Blaydes doesn’t have a fight, and I fought him twice already. So it’s not some fight that I’m looking for. And that’s all. They said I could wait to see what’s going on Nov. 9, to see maybe if (Alexander) Volkov beats ‘JDS.’ But the problem – first of all, that’s not a fight I’m looking for. And second of all, Volkov turned this fight down twice.
“Why do I have to expect somebody to win a fight or don’t get hurt to accept the fight? ‘I don’t know.’ That was their answer: to wait and see, either in November or in December, to see if Volkov wins or if Walt Harris wins. Then we will see if they want to fight me if they are not injured.”
With Cormier planning to retire after his fight with Miocic, the UFC will likely wait for both men to get fully healthy before booking that fight in early 2020. The entire situation is extremely frustrating for Ngannou, who believes his promoter doesn’t care about him.
“They’re going to have to fight the trilogy, but why should I not fight before?” Ngannou said. “I think I deserve this fight, and the problem is, they’re planning to make this like in March. And notice: March is going to be like nine months from my last fight, because my last fight was in June. Then, they’re going to expect if somebody, if the winner doesn’t get hurt, I’m willing to fight in three months.
“It’s going to go over one year from my last fight, and if something happens, if the winner gets hurt or injured and is going to take time off, then what happens? Right now, I don’t know if I’m a fighter or not. My promoter, my boss doesn’t care about me. So this process is kind of exhausting.”
What do you make of Ngannou’s frustrations with the UFC?