Francis Ngannou recently saw the most high-profile fight of his career snatched out from under him.
But rather than take a step back, “The Predator” is on the hunt for an even bigger catch.
The 31-year-old heavyweight appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday to talk about his bout with Junior dos Santos that was supposed to take place at UFC 215 this Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta, only for it to be canceled when dos Santos was flagged for a USADA violation on Aug. 18. Officials were unable to find a replacement opponent for Ngannou.
Now that Ngannou’s dance card is again clear, he’d like to fill it with the name of Stipe Miocic, the current king of the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“After JDS was pulled from the card, all of the top-10, almost the top-15 was booked. The only one available was (Alistair) Overeem and he (decided to take some time off for his family),” Ngannou said. “But if he’s open for some event in December or November, I don’t know, I’m thinking of everyone.
“They can give me Stipe right now. I want Stipe. I want to go for the belt and then after I can take all these guys who become the contenders, the potential challengers, but yes I’ll take the belt first. I didn’t have enough fights, but now we need to go forward.”
In his first four UFC fights, Ngannou shredded his competition with none of his opponents making it past the second round. This past January, he added the most notable name yet to his resume with a 92-second TKO of former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.
That victory set him up to challenge another former champion in dos Santos, but Ngannou instead finds himself in limbo without a booking for the immediate future. However, he pointed out that he has that in common with Miocic. Ngannou heard that Miocic might be interested in fighting Jon Jones, a possibility that is off the table with the light heavyweight star once again having his own issues with the USADA.
Though a showdown with Miocic is not the only fight Ngannou will accept, he made it crystal clear that he’s ready to challenge for a UFC title as soon as possible.
“It’s not Stipe or nothing, but I deserve Stipe. I want Stipe,” Ngannou said. “That’s my choice. And if they say, ‘No, you cannot have Stipe,’ then yes, I now have nothing to do, I’ll just do my best. But I want Stipe.”