Carving out a name as being the UFC’s most promising heavyweight prospect, Francis Ngannou has wasted no time in making an impact during his short UFC career so far and has finished all five of his fights in the promotion.
After such a stunning start to his tenure including a victory over MMA heavyweight royalty Andrei Arlovski, “The Predator” is now officially ranked fifth in the heavyweight division and is now ready for the bigger challenges that lay ahead of him.
Prior to UFC London, Ngannou spoke out about having a good idea of exactly the kind of caliber of opponent he will now have to face after rising so quickly through the ranks.
“I don’t know if it will be in Rotterdam but for sure I want to fight [Alistair] Overeem,” said the 30-year-old.
“I mentioned the name Cain [Velasquez] before but I say I want to fight Overeem, Cain Velasquez or [Junior] Dos Santos.”
A fight with either of the three would make sense for the Frenchman at this stage in his career. However a lot could depend on how the heavyweight division landscape changes in the near future with Dos Santos due to face champion Stipe Miocic for the belt at UFC 211 in May.
Asked who he believes will come out on top at UFC 211, Ngannou did not hesitate to take sides.
“I think Dos Santos,” stated Ngannou with confidence. “I think he’s a great fighter and he’s a legend of this division.”
With the acclaim also comes the detractors, with many being quick to point out the Frenchman’s inexperience as evidence of him being pushed too far, too quickly. Having only taken up the sport four years ago, Ngannou’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric, however he insists this has no bearing on his readiness or ability to compete with the best in the world.
“I’ve come far and I have one goal, my goal and I think I am ready for my goal. I am on it right now. I don’t care if a guy takes 10 or 15 years, that is not my problem. I think I’m able to fight and win. I want to do it and I’m going to do it,” proclaimed a passionate Ngannou.
“Now I am number five, if I fight someone in front of me than I will probably get my title shot.”
With his next fight yet to be scheduled, there is an excellent chance of him being placed on one of the European cards such as Rotterdam or Glasgow. Regardless of location and opponent, his next fight is sure to determine whether Ngannou is a world beater in the waiting or simply an excellent contender.