Dana White: Francis Ngannou ‘Definitely Next’ for Heavyweight Title Shot

By: Tristen Critchfield
Aug 16, 2020

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When examining the landscape of the heavyweight division, one clear contender stands out above the rest following Stipe Miocic’s victory over Daniel Cormier in the UFC 252 headliner.

That, of course, is knockout artist Francis Ngannou, whose current four-bout winning streak includes first-round finishes of Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. “The Predator” challenged for heavyweight gold in January 2018, when he dropped a five-round verdict to Miocic at UFC 220.

While Ngannou seems to make the most sense as the next challenger for Miocic, the possibility of a Jon Jones jump to heavyweight still looms large over the rest of the division. Jones was active on Twitter throughout the UFC 252 main event and at its conclusion seemed to imply that a move was imminent.

Even if Jones makes the leap after years of teasing such a move, UFC president Dana White indicated that Ngannou will remain the rightful No. 1 contender.

“Francis is definitely next,” White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I mean, you can’t jump over Francis. Francis has been out there destroying everybody, and if you look at how long ago it was that he got that title shot, he’s worked his way back. It belongs to Francis Ngannou.

“But yeah, Jon Jones going to heavyweight is very interesting.”

Miocic, meanwhile, plans on taking some time off after his latest triumph. But once it comes time to get back to work, he doesn’t really have a preference in opponent.

“I’ll fight anyone,” he said. “I don’t care. I love what I do.”

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