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Francis Ngannou struggling to stay motivated during long stint of inactivity

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Top UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou wants to fight. Now.

Top UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou is tired of waiting around.

The 34-year-old Cameroonian has had just under three minutes of cage-time since November 2018 and he is yearning for a five round bout opposite current champion Stipe Miocic.

With his last bout, a 20 second destruction of Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249, coming all the way back in May, Ngannou is frustrated about with his current stint on the sidelines—and he’s not afraid to say it.

“It’s been a lifetime [since I last fought],” said Ngannou in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It’s still kind of like frustrating even though I’m trying to take it out of my mind knowing that I can’t do nothing to change it. Even before fighting in May, I’ve been through this same story, this same situation and it got me ready to face it again. I was waiting for Stipe and D.C., who was in August and obviously I was expecting something in December. That’s why after their fight, I just came back from Cameroon expecting maybe sometime in December because it’s four months away, or maybe January at the latest, I might have a fight.”

Ngannou did reveal that he had been told about a potential booking in March 2021, but the Predator didn’t sound very confident that this would happen.

“Who knows? Who knows how that will play out?”

Whether it is in March or not Ngannou is emphatic that his next fight should be for the UFC heavyweight title. Ngannou believes that as a top contender for the belt he is due a title fight. That doesn’t seem like much to ask for. But, with the UFC heavyweight division as it is—according to Ngannou, a title fight for a top contender might be too much to ask for.

“There hasn’t been a title fight in this division for two years except for those between Stipe and D.C. and other than that there hasn’t been a fight with contenders, which is what contenders fight for,” bemoaned Ngannou. “To fight for the title but there is no title going on in this division. I don’t how long that is going to last. I’m sure it’s not just me saying that. Other contenders who also feel the same way because if there’s not a title fight, contenders they’re not moving on. They’re just fighting without purpose. Without a real goal.

“Because when you’re a prospect, you fight to become a contender. When you’re a contender, you fight to be champion. Now, heavyweight contenders right now don’t really know what they’re fighting for. For those who are fighting, obviously. In my case, I’m not fighting. I can’t even dare say I’m fighting.”

Ngannou said he didn’t entirely blame Miocic for the logjam at the top of the heavyweight division and that the UFC themselves were obviously “in charge of things”.

With little confidence that a title fight (or any fight) is on the horizon, Ngannou shared that staying in shape mentally and physically has become quite the challenge.

“It’s been seven months since my last fight. I don’t know exactly for sure when is my next fight. It’s kind of like really hard to find motivation and everything. Even when you’re training and don’t have motivation. It’s kind of a little bit hard.”

Ngannou’s win over Rozenstruik was his fourth in a row. Prior to that he TKO’d Junior dos Santos (in just over a minute), KO’d Cain Velasquez (in 26 seconds) and TKO’d Curtis Blaydes (in 45 seconds).

His last defeat came in July 2018, when he was decisioned by Derrick Lewis. That defeat came after a unanimous decision loss to Stipe Miocic for the title at UFC 220. The loss to Miocic was Ngannou’s second pro loss. His first defeat was on the French regional scene in only his second ever pro fight.