The two heavyweight contenders were booked to fight at UFC 215, Alberta, but disaster struck when dos Santos was flagged for a USADA violation on Aug. 18 and the bout was canceled when officials failed to find a short-notice replacement.
Just days away from the event, Ngannou is still getting used to the first major disappointment of his UFC career.
“I feel so bad because I was waiting for that fight and even yesterday, I just think about how the next event was 215 and how my moment was coming,” Ngannou said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “I feel like I missed this one, I’m still disappointed. It’s not easy to be prepared for a fight for three months and then it doesn’t happen. Some fighters are used to this situation, but when you’ve never had it, you don’t know how difficult it is and basically you’re waiting more for the fight because this was supposed to be some big fight for me that could push me up.”
Ngannou isn’t directing his frustration at his opponent, especially since dos Santos’s case is still pending. The former UFC champion vowed to get to the bottom of his drug test failure and Ngannou is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.
“I cannot say yes I believe it, but I cannot judge him,” Ngannou said. “This is a situation that can happen to everyone because (the supplement suppliers) are going to give you a little check or whatever, like $1000, $2000, and they give them products, they just took it and don’t check it. Sometimes, they even go (find it themselves), they really don’t check, so this can happen to everyone. But I could not say Junior is guilty or innocent.”
For his part, Ngannou keeps himself as clean as possible. The French-Cameroonian, who just turned 31, is known for his impressive physique as well as his ability to end fights in a flash, two traits that he attributes to hard work and a good diet as opposed to anything extra.
“That’s why sometimes I think about how to take supplements, but I don’t do it,” Ngannou continued. “I never took supplements because maybe something’s wrong and they’ll just say, ‘Yes, Ngannou did this, Ngannou failed a drug test,’ and no fighter wants to have that in their career.”