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Morning Report: Francis Ngannou explains why he was passed over for short-notice fight with Alexander Volkov

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Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou

Earlier this week, it was announced that Junior dos Santos had been forced out of his UFC Moscow co-main event fight with Alexander Volkov due to a hospitalization. UFC Moscow takes place in a little over two weeks but one of the most high-profile heavyweights in the UFC, former title challenger Francis Ngannou, immediately showed some interest in facing Volkov, posting to Twitter about the possibility.

Ultimately, it was not to be though. Instead of Ngannou, the UFC opted to have controversial heavyweight prospect Greg Hardy step in, despite Hardy having just fought last weekend. The announcement, which came just hours after Ngannou’s Tweet showing interest, prompted a follow up post from the top heavyweight contender that made him seem less than thrilled with everything that took place.

Now we know exactly what Ngannou was talking about. Speaking with TMZ Sports, Ngannou revealed that he had in fact been offered the Volkov bout, and outlined just how it ended up going to Greg Hardy instead.

“Obviously, two days ago they called my manager if I wanted to fight,” Ngannou said. “Like, when? Of course I want to fight. Where and when, with who? ‘In 18 days.’ Really? For what purpose? What is the goal for this fight because it’s a step down for me. We’re talking about what, a title shot guarantee, a contract renegotiation, what? ‘No, we’re not talking about that. Just a fight.’ So we think about it and we’re like, what is the purpose to risk to go to the fight without a training camp because it’s just 18 days. This fight was announced maybe two months ago...

“We prefer, okay let’s put the fight, Alexander Volkov and I in Las Vegas, which is like, in almost eight weeks, seven to eight weeks. That would make more sense. By then I’ll have a good training camp, appropriate training camp for the fight.”

The rest is obviously history. Hardy had no qualms about stepping in without a training camp, having just come off a fight this past weekend, and will now get the biggest test of his career while Ngannou is once again left on the sidelines. It’s a position that is growing increasingly frustrating for the heavyweight knockout artist.

Ngannou last competed in June, knocking out Junior dos Santos in 71 seconds. That win put presumably earned Ngannou a title shot, however, after Stipe Miocic reclaimed the heavyweight title in his rematch with Daniel Cormier, the UFC is now opting to hold their trilogy bout first. That leaves Ngannou without any obvious opponents and though he’s been calling for fights, the UFC has still yet to give him any, other than one where he’d have no training camp to prepare.

“I’m just going crazy. I took a quick trip to Hawaii. It wasn’t planned but I was just out there in Vegas going crazy, trying to have a fight,” Ngannou said. “I do this for living. I do this to put food on the table for me and to provide to my family. I’ve been asking for a fight since my last fight. I was still inside the octagon when I asked Dana face to face, ‘Do I get a title shot?’ He said let’s see how it plays out in August. Then after August I didn’t have news, trying to find out what happens, what’s next. Even more than two months after August, I still don’t have a fight.”

Unfortunately for Ngannou, there aren’t many fights that make sense from the UFC’s perspective. He’s already knocked out most of the other top contenders. A bout with Volkov would make sense if Volkov does get past Hardy but there’s another fight that has been starting to simmer in the background, a superfight with Jon Jones. But while Ngannou says he believes he will fight Jones, he doesn’t think that will happen soon because that’s a fight that needs to be built up.

“I will say the same thing that he said, it’s inevitable if Jon Jones goes to heavyweight,” Ngannou said. “I’m going to fight him. But once again, this fight is not just some superfight, it’s not just a fight that you take it because you’re desperate and have to fight. This fight has to put a lot of things together.”

So with that scenario looking unlikely, Ngannou is stuck in a limbo that he never asked for and is growing increasingly disgruntled with the UFC as a result because, at the end of the day, prize-fighting is about getting paid and the UFC is not doing that for him right now.

“I just want the UFC to pay me some respect and for the UFC to give me a damn fight,” Ngannou concluded. “That’s what I’m asking for. I was expecting to have a fight by December to make my Christmas and New Year for my family. Hey man, I need a fight. I need to make money.”


Other endeavors. Conor McGregor says UFC is ‘holding me back’ from fights, looking to book charity bout in December.

Promotion. Jon Jones: ‘Nothing to gain’ by facing Dominick Reyes, fight against Francis Ngannou is ‘inevitable’.

Risky business. Darren Till on Kelvin Gastelum: ‘Dana White tried to convince me not to take the fight’.

Feuding. Paige VanZant ready to fight virtually any UFC strawweight or flyweight but no interest in Maycee Barber.

Bold strategy. Urijah Faber returns against Petr Yan at UFC 245.


Scott Coker scrum.

McGregor’s Moscow press conference.

Free fight.

Ben Askren bold predicting Maia won’t flying knee KO him.

244 Promo.


Heavy Hands. Breaking down the top fights at UFC Singapore.

Pull No Punches. An interview with Beneil Dariush.


Conor feeling good.


Jon, the troll.


The beef is real.

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Lesson of the day: RESPECT One of the first lessons we learn in martial arts is respect. I respect those who have dedicated themselves to this profession and given it their everything to achieve greatness through showcasing their skill. I respect every female fighter tagged in this post. With that said, it would be an honor to share the cage with any of you ladies at 115 or 125. If any of you are interested, let @UFC & @mickmaynard2 know because I'm healthy and ready to get back in there. @xiaonan_yan @jodieesquibel @syuri_official @cynthia.calvillo @spidermonkeyyoda @alexa_grasso @tatianasuarezufc @karolinakowalkiewicz @castironcasey @karatehottiemma @angieoverkill @alexchambersmma @teciatorres @randamarkos @emwhitmire115 @mackenziedern @zhangweilimma @livinhaufc @marinarodriguezmma @shockwavecifers @virnajandiroba @amandaufcribas @briannathebull @arianelipski @jessicammapro @joannajedrzejczyk @alexisdavismma @jessicaevileye @roxyfighter @laurenmurphymma @maryna_moroz_ufc @bulletvalentina @blondefighter @badmofo_jojo @veronicamacedomma @luciepudilovamma @champyoni @maramarvillarb @kalindrafaria @polianabotelho_ufc @wuyananufc_ @nadia187kassem @montana.delarosa @rachaelostovich @danger_dobson @savage_ufc @pedritaprvtufc @polyanaviana @princesstiger_mma @andreakgblee @meatballmolly @jennimaiaufc @antoninapantera @arianelipski @tailasantos.ufc @sabinamazo @viviaraujomma @mirandagranger @hannahgoldy @fightermizuki @dianabelbita @luanadread

A post shared by Paige Vanderford (PVZ) (@paigevanzant) on

Sick edit.

Also, very cool.

Way to go, Fitzy.

Fine dining.


Cynthia Calvillo (8-1) vs. Marina Rodriguez (12-0-1); UFC Washington D.C., Dec. 7.

Urijah Faber (35-10) vs. Petr Yan (13-1); UFC 245, Dec. 14.


I think far too often, we as fans forget that fighters ultimately fight for money and that it’s not all some grand chess match about getting the title. Most of the time it’s just putting food on the table. If Ngannou is stuck waiting for a title shot, that’ll end up being at least one year inactive while perfectly healthy. I can see how that would frustrate him.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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