UFC President Dana White spoke with TMZ recently and discussed with that outlet the future of the UFC heavyweight title, which is currently being held by undisputed champion Stipe Miocic.
White told the gossip bloggers that he was trying to book a rematch between Miocic and top-ranked contender Francis Ngannou. “That fight won’t be ready till March,” White said. “… It could (happen). Yeah, that’s the goal. We’ll see what happens.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Miocic returned from a year-long lay-off in August to defeat Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision at UFC 252. The win ended Miocic’s trilogy with Cormier (with him going 2-1) and took his record to 20-3. The win also gave Miocic his fourth UFC heavyweight title defense, a record in the promotion.
Ngannou’s last Octagon appearance was in May, at UFC 249. There he obliterated Jairzinho Rozenstruik with a 20 second KO. That was the fourth KO/TKO win for the Predator in a row. The last time the Cameroonian lost was in 2018, when he dropped a lackluster decision to Derrick Lewis.
The Lewis loss came six months after Ngannou unsuccessfully challenged for Miocic’s UFC title at UFC 220. In that bout Miocic out-wrestled and exhausted Ngannou over five rounds to earn a lopsided decision.
Since fighting Ngannou Miocic has only fought Cormier, first losing via KO, then winning by TKO to reclaim the belt and then the decision win this year.
Recently Miocic went on record saying he wasn’t that interested in a rematch with Ngannou. Instead, the Clevelander said he was excited to welcome former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to the division or try his hand at boxing (with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury often mentioned as potential foes).
Ngannou has also spoken about fighting Jones, too. At one point it seemed the only thing getting in the way of that fight was the UFC’s reticence to pay top dollar for the contest. Recently Ngannou vented some frustration over how inactive he has been, tweeting dissatisfaction over fighting just 20 second in the past 16 months.
If the UFC gets its wish the heavy hitting Ngannou will have to wait another five months before he steps into the cage. Right now the UFC doesn’t have any events locked in on their schedule past February 2021.
Should Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 get booked for an event it would almost certainly be the headliner. No one knows right now if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will abate enough to justify a return to regular arena shows or if the UFC will continue to hold fan-less events at either the UFC APEX in Las Vegas (with its small cage) or Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.