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UFC 249’s Francis Ngannou ‘mad’ and ‘frustrated’ about having to wait for title shot

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“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.”

UFC 249 Ngannou v Rozenstruik Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Francis Ngannou should be celebrating after his emphatic 20-second knockout of Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249, but ‘The Predator’ can’t help but feel ‘mad’ and ‘frustrated’ about the current heavyweight title picture and the fact that he’s still no closer to a title shot.

Despite winning his last four fights via first-round KO and beating two former champions in Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, Ngannou is stuck in limbo due to the uncertainty surrounding the proposed trilogy bout between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier, who were originally expected to fight earlier this year.

Miocic, however, is still recovering from an eye injury and the fight has been pushed back even further due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent government shutdowns.

Speaking to MMA Fighting following his KO win over Rozenstruik, Ngannou explained why he’s frustrated with the situation and hinted that he may have to take another one-year layoff.

“I don’t want to put my head in there because thinking about it is just getting me frustrated and mad,” Ngannou said 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 is also mad that the UFC denied his request to put an interim heavyweight title on the line at UFC 249.

“That’s my frustration right now,” he 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.”

Ngannou would be interested in taking on Cormier for the vacant heavyweight title if the Miocic trilogy bout falls through.

“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.”

Ngannou isn’t calling for the UFC to strip Miocic of the title but the Cameroonian knockout artist wants the heavyweight division to ‘move on’.

“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.”

Ngannou is currently ranked #2 in the UFC heavyweight rankings and received a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for his latest performance at UFC 249.