Just after winning the UFC heavyweight title this spring with a win over Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou headed to Cameroon to celebrate his success with friends and countrymen. He spent some time there, only to return to training after he came.
He was then expected to contract his first UFC heavyweight title defense and fight Derrick Lewis. However, that did not happen. UFC and Francis did not agree on the terms, so Lewis fought against Cyril Gane for the interim title, which went to the Frenchman.
It has become clear that what follows is the clash of the current real and interim champion. Francis coach Eric Nicksick claimed that Francis is ready to start preparing at any time, but it is obvious that he has gone on another holiday.
Namely, he posted several photos from the football field in his native Cameroon on Instagram, and he wrote in a comment that he is happy to be able to relax and spend time with friends. Also, it’s interesting to see what the meanest man in the world looks like in football equipment.
However, photos like this only reveal to us that the UFC has no defined plans around fighting for the heavyweight title or that, if they have them, they are not tied to any recent date.
As of this year, we have actually given up, and the program and the first PPV events are already slowly filling up in January, so the question is whether there is a chance that former teammates will meet there.
All of this still keeps the heavyweight division in suspense, and rare title fights have actually become the rule. In 2016 and 2018, two were held, and in 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, only one each, if we do not count the last duel for the temporary title.
In 2014, there was only a fight for the interim title between Werdum and Hunt. All of this lets us know that the heavyweight category isn’t really in some new problem. UFC has had a problem with heavyweights and challengers for a very long time, and for the benefit of the whole sport, fans, but also the fighters themselves, it would be great to solve this problem soon.
Ngannou is perhaps the greatest wish of all spectators, considering that he is in great shape and that he has shown in previous fights how talented a fighter he is. An even bigger success is the story of Ngannou who came to the US from poverty and became what he is today.