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Francis Ngannou angry, frustrated at the state of UFC heavyweight division: ‘I just want what I deserve’

UFC 249 Ngannou v Rozenstruik Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

A 20-second knockout over previously undefeated heavyweight prospect Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249 should have ended in a celebration for Francis Ngannou.

Instead, the ferocious knockout artist felt nothing but frustration and anger after realizing he’s now notched four straight wins in a row, all in the first round, with two of those victories coming against former UFC heavyweight champions yet Ngannou still has no idea when he might actually get the chance to compete for a title.

The problem facing Ngannou is the expected trilogy between current champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier that still doesn’t have a date or location yet.

“I don’t want to put my head in there because thinking about it is just getting me frustrated and mad,” Ngannou told MMA Fighting on Monday. “I don’t like this situation. I don’t like thinking about if Stipe and D.C. is going to happen. Are they going to fight? When are they going to fight? And what’s going to happen if the winner gets hurt and when will they come back to fight again?

“Maybe another potential 11-month or one-year layoff for me again. It’s something that I don’t even want to think about it.”

Ngannou’s anger isn’t necessarily directed at Miocic or Cormier because he understands the desire to settle that rivalry with a third fight after they split the first two meetings.

Unfortunately, Miocic suffered a torn retina in his rematch with Cormier that resulted in multiple eye surgeries that kept him sidelined until earlier this year. On top of that, Miocic is currently working as a first responder in his home state of Ohio where he’s constantly around COVID-19 patients not to mention his gym is closed down by order of the governor.

That leaves Miocic in an unenviable position where he can’t really train properly right now, especially when preparing for a title fight showdown with Cormier.

The situation surrounding Miocic vs. Cormier 3 is why Ngannou asked the UFC to introduce an interim heavyweight title for his fight against Rozenstruik this past Saturday night.

They declined.

“That’s my frustration right now,” Ngannou explained. “Saturday night after the fight, after I won, I watched the [Justin] Gaethje and [Tony] Ferguson fight. It was an amazing fight. Incredible. Then I saw Justin Gaethje get the belt and we were asking them for the title fight in comparison with Justin Gaethje also having an interim title fight on three first-round knockouts, same as me as a heavyweight. Also knowing what is going on in the heavyweight division, we asked for the interim title on the line. But the UFC denied it.

“I did not understand why. Saturday night, it was very frustrating. I was mad about it. I should be by myself with a belt around my waist. I don’t deserve it? Is that what they meant? What was the meaning of that exactly? What would it take them to do something like that? That was unfortunate.”

In the aftermath of Ngannou’s fourth straight knockout win, Cormier conceded that he’d be willing to entertain that fight if Miocic doesn’t return in a timely fashion.

For his part, Ngannou would gladly accept the challenge.

“I think as every young fighter in the division now, it would just be an honor to share the octagon with Daniel Cormier before he retires,” Ngannou said. “It is something that I always think about but lately I couldn’t talk about since he was claiming that the only fight that he wanted for the title was the trilogy against Stipe.

“So I couldn’t claim that up but if that’s something that’s really interesting to him, I’m in.”

A fight with Cormier might be interesting but ultimately Ngannou isn’t advocating for Miocic to lose his title or get stripped by the UFC.

He just wants his chance to go for the gold.

“I think the division has to move on,” Ngannou said. “There’s not a division where there’s one year without a title defense. What are they fighting for? They have to be fighting for something. They all have a purpose. They all have a dream. You have to keep slighting them and they have to keep the same motivation seeing that. As soon as there’s not a title in the division anymore, it’s not the same motivation. It’s not worth it.

“I don’t want to take Stipe out of it. I just want what I deserve and let the UFC do their job.”

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