After his 20-second knockout blitz on Saturday night vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Ngannou (15-2) is eager to fight Daniel Cormier (22-2) for the heavyweight title: as current champ Stipe Miocic may potentially be stripped through inactivity.
His wild swings and ferocious power were enough to send Rozenstruik crashing into the Octagon fence this past weekend, so Francis Ngannou’s admission he wants to fight DC for the heavyweight title isn’t exactly surprising.
As per TMZ Sports, Ngannou said: “I would love to share the Octagon with Daniel Cormier before he retires. I mean, that would be an honour for me to have to fight [him], since I[‘ve] always thought about it.”
Naturally, Cormier isn’t afraid and why would he be? DC has comfortably beaten fearsome knockout punchers before – Anthony Johnson (twice!) and more recently, Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 in November 2018. All three wins were via rear-naked choke, and considering his comments, it’s likely that Ngannou would suffer the same fate.
Cormier honest about potential Ngannou bout
As quoted by MMAJunkie, the 41-year-old warned anyone who may expect a fire fight.
“It’s like a double-edged sword. If I go to fight Francis, the smart way is to go take him down over and over. I did that against Derrick Lewis and people gave me flack for it, ‘all he did was wrestle.’
I’m not going to stand up with him, I’m telling you and him. If you’re going to be upset about me taking him down over and over, that’s just what you’re going to have to deal with. I don’t want to get knocked out – that’s what’s going to happen if I stand there. I would probably wrestle him the whole time until I would submit him.”
Statistic: Ngannou has now won four consecutive bouts in a total fight time of 162 seconds – two minutes and 42 seconds.
The pair have great mutual respect for one another and Cormier was on commentary duty during UFC 249, watching on in shock as many others worldwide watched Ngannou effortlessly dismantle Rozenstruik. However, their fight wouldn’t have the same ending.
During the UFC 249 post-fight show on ESPN, Cormier said he’s prepared for both.
“I love Francis, I think he’s a sweetheart person. I would love to do my trilogy with Stipe, but if [he] won’t fight, they’re going to take his belt just like Henry [Cejudo] gave up his and make a fight between Francis and I for the belt – it’s as simple as that. All respect in the world to Francis, but I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll fight anybody on any planet.
“If he [Stipe] doesn’t want to fight, I want to fight my last, whoever. If it’s Francis, I guess that’s who it’s going to be.”
Ngannou, for all that knockout ability, is limited with regards to his ground game. Cormier, a former Olympian, relishes the opportunity to take opponents down – even if it doesn’t make for a particularly exciting watch for fight fans.
Where does champ Stipe Miocic come into the equation?
DC has stressed his desire for just one more bout before retiring.
His last outing was a TKO defeat by Miocic at UFC 241 last August, during a rematch of their first encounter the previous year at UFC 226. It’s why a trilogy and the chance to retire as champion has been an enticing proposition for Cormier, while avenging his second career loss.
Last September, he said: “I’m gonna fight this guy again, my intention is to fight him in the right way. It has to be against Stipe – no-one else matters.”
Now, we know that things change and no-one could’ve predicted a coronavirus pandemic to suspend sports the way it has. But, that’s precisely the case.
Outside the UFC, Miocic (19-3) is both a firefighter and paramedic in Ohio. Considering the crisis, reports claim he’s not ready to compete by August given first responder obligations – plus his gym is closed as a result of a stay-at-home order in his state.
Last week, Dana White said that should Stipe be unable to meet his proposed fight timeline, the heavyweight division has to move on without him. Harsh? Definitely.
Stipe responded to DC’s latest comments on Monday night:
Dana is preparing for all possibilities, while promising a decision on the HW title will be resolved soon. Only time will tell, but perhaps Ngannou will get his wish after all.