It’s hard to argue against the logic that Francis Ngannou has done more than enough to earn another shot at the UFC heavyweight title.
Following first-round knockouts against both Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes in consecutive fights, Ngannou needed just 71-seconds to dispatch Junior dos Santos and notch his third win in a row at UFC Minneapolis on Saturday.
Altogether, Ngannou has spent a grand total of two minutes and 27 seconds in the Octagon over the course of his past three victories while adding two former heavyweight champions to his resume.
Following his latest win, Ngannou wasted no time finding UFC president Dana White sitting cageside to pass along a message regarding what comes next for him.
“I was just telling him that I need some credit. I need the title shot,” Ngannou said when relaying what he said to White at the post-fight press conference. “That’s the only thing that would make sense right now for me.
“He said we’re going to talk about it. I assume that means yes.”
During the UFC post-fight show, White wouldn’t fully commit to Ngannou receiving the next title shot only because the heavyweight title fight between current champion Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic still has to play out next month at UFC 241.
Cormier has said that his career is dwindling to an end while a Miocic win could potentially set up a trilogy fight after he fell to the two-time Olympian in their first meeting.
The aftermath of that fight will ultimately determine what happens next in the heavyweight division, but Ngannou believes he’s made a compelling case that he should face the winner.
“Do I deserve the title shot or not? I think the answer is yes,” Ngannou said. “Then what happens or somebody gets an injury? I don’t know, I just want that they give me the title contract and then we have time to prepare and put it all together.
“If DC wins and decides to retire, the division would not stay without a champion. They would have to figure out something and I would be the head of the line so I’m not concerned about that. I don’t think at this point I still have to claim the title shot. I think it’s obvious. I think I deserve it.”
As far as his personal preference, Ngannou fell to Miocic in his first shot at the title back in 2018, which would serve as obvious motivation should he get the rematch. Then again, Cormier is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time so a win over him would go a long way towards Ngannou cementing his own legacy.
“I don’t really care because both of them is a good fight for me,” Ngannou said. “Stipe is my rematch that I want to do and DC is the double champ and he’s almost about to retire according to what he said. Either fight will be good for me.”
A fight against Cormier or Miocic would also give Ngannou a chance to improve upon his shortcomings when failing to capture the heavyweight title in his first opportunity. At UFC 220, Ngannou faced a relentless attack from Miocic, who weathered an early storm and then used his wrestling to wear down the hulking heavyweight from Cameroon before battering him for the better part of all five rounds.
Cormier also hails from a wrestling background, which would almost certainly play into a fight against Ngannou should that fight ever materialize.
For his part, Ngannou doesn’t feel the need to tell the world how he’s improved his wrestling defense since losing to Miocic. Rather, he’ll show it in the title fight.
“I don’t need to convince people,” Ngannou said. “I just got to go out there [and] fight. How did I convince people I was going to beat Junior tonight? The only thing that convinced people was the result.”