The UFC president has explained his uncertainty over the future of top heavyweight contender, Francis Ngannou, despite his impressive win over Junior dos Santos last weekend.
Like so many of the other fights that have littered Ngannou’s recent run, the knockout, when it came, was devastating and above all else, it came in lightning quick fashion.
With his record now standing at 3-0 since his universally panned showdown against Derrick Lewis at UFC 229, it’s pretty safe to assume that he’ll be next in line for a shot at the divisional title once things get settled at UFC 241.
UFC president Dana White made it clear that things are not as simple as that, though.
Speaking during the UFC Minneapolis post-fight press conference, Dana gave his thoughts on the powerful contender and his place in the title-picture.
“This fight has to play out first. Stipe and Cormier has to play out. Who wins, how they come out of that fight, what does Cormier want to do next if he wins.
“There’s a lot of things that play into what’s next. It’s not as easy as, ‘Oh, I won tonight, and I’m next for the fight.’ And we know this. I go through this every single time there’s a fight.” (via MMANytt)
On the subject of his own push for another shot at heavyweight gold, Ngannou himself agreed that his resumé at this point is undeniable and that eventually, he will find himself in a position to take home the strap again.
“Do I deserve the title shot? I think the answer is yes. Then what happens if somebody gets an injury? I just want them to give me the title contract, and then we have time to prepare and put things together.
“If ‘DC’ wins and decides to retire, the division will not stay without a champion. They will have to figure out something, and I’ll be at the head of the line. I’m not concerned about that.”
It’s hard to argue with Ngannou on this one.
Sure, his dip in form was about as dramatic as you could ever imagine seeing in the sport, but given that he has managed to rack off three consecutive first-round finishes of Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos, it’s pretty fair to say that the manner in which he has rebounded has been nothing short of superb.
Of course, with the divisional title up for grabs at UFC 241, who knows whether Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier will have the strap around their waist when the time comes to face off against The Predator.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena