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Francis Ngannou requested interim title fight with Jairzinho Rozenstruik but ‘there was no interest’ from UFC

Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Francis Ngannou would love to compete for the UFC heavyweight title again, but there’s no telling when that opportunity might happen.

With three consecutive wins, including a pair of knockouts over former champions Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos, Ngannou should probably be in line for a title shot. But the UFC is currently planning a trilogy between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier for later this year.

The problem is Miocic is still recovering from eye surgery, and with the ongoing coronavirus ravaging the UFC’s schedule, there’s no telling when the heavyweight title will be defended again.

That’s why Ngannou made the suggestion that an interim title should be on the line for his upcoming fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

“We even requested [an interim title] to the UFC, but actually they weren’t interested in all that,” Ngannou told MMA Fighting. “The fact is nobody knows when it’s going to be decided for the title in the heavyweight division again. It’s soon going to be one year, which is something very frustrating and makes me [not] want to think about it.

“Let’s say after May 9 happens and I beat this guy, what’s next? It’s just kind of a blind spot out there, [and] the UFC has to clear that out and let the heavyweight division know exactly what is the plan, what they’re going to do. I don’t think we’re going to be waiting for people. No disrespect for Stipe or [Cormier], but I don’t think it’s fair that we just sit here and wait to fight.”

Rozenstruik echoed those thoughts in a separate interview as he also called for an interim title fight at UFC 249 on May 9.

Unfortunately, the UFC hasn’t listened to the heavyweight’s overtures yet. If the promotion changes its mind, Ngannou is definitely on board.

“As I said, I requested that, but there was no interest,” Ngannou said. “So why wouldn’t I be down for that since I asked for it? I think the division should move on.”

Perhaps the most frustrating part for Ngannou is what happens to him after May 9. Assuming he’s victorious, there aren’t many options left available in terms of viable contenders. He’s already wiped out two former champions and holds a pair of wins over Curtis Blaydes, who is the next closest to Ngannou in the rankings according to the UFC.

The end result might be Ngannou sitting and waiting for a title shot with no clear indication when that opportunity might come.

“Maybe after Jairzinho, they’re going to make me wait for a new guy to come up and fight again,” Ngannou said. “It’s been 10 months already [since my last fight].”

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