‘I’m the Champ’: Francis Ngannou Dismisses Interim Title Fight Between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane

Published 08/07/2021, 7:52 AM EDT
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – FEBRUARY 17: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon celebrates his KO victory over Cain Velasquez in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 17, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC Credits Getty Images)


UFC 265 is around the corner, with Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane competing for the interim heavyweight title in the main event. All this, while the champion, Francis Ngannou, sits on the sidelines a few months after capturing the title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.  

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The UFC has developed a pattern of arbitrarily hosting interim title fights over the years. And while an interim belt is imperative to keep the division moving, others believe it to be a marketing tactic to hype up events.  

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In a recent interview with TMZ, Francis Ngannou expressed his disappointment with the current situation he finds himself in, a few months into his title reign.  

“You know my only issue with that fight is like it’s not a title fight, I’m the champ. I was here, I’m not hurt. I was ready to go. Coming up with this interim title, that was kinda like a slap, like a disrespect, you know like the belt that I worked hard for, be patient through all the frustration, then be patient and work hard and get there, get the title and two months, three months barely three months after, they were just matching it like it was nothing like ‘oh let’s do some interim title. We can throw as many titles out there.’ So you won’t get the same value anymore, so that’s how I feel about it. ”   

According to Ngannou, the bout between Lewis and Gane is for the no.1 contender spot, not the title. The 34-year-old sees himself fighting both Lewis and Gane at some point, regardless of the results this weekend.

Francis Ngannou: What’s next for the heavyweight champion?

After capturing the title in a rematch against Stipe Miocic, Ngannou was looking to take on the former light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, in a super fight at heavyweight.

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However, following a series of failed negotiations between Jon Jones and the UFC, a clash between the two seems like a distant dream. As of now, Francis Ngannou will have to wait till this weekend to find out who his next opponent will be. On the other hand, there remains the possibility of a third fight between Stipe and Ngannou.

BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: (R-L) Francis Ngannou of Cameroon punches Stipe Miocic in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Regardless, the Predator will look to make a comeback at the earliest, irrespective of the opponent. Armed with astonishing knockout power and high-level takedown defense, one can see Ngannou ruling the division with an iron fist for the foreseeable future.

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What do you think? Who will Francis Ngannou face next? Let us know in the comments.

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David Andrew

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