Dana White says UFC 270 absence had nothing to do with Francis Ngannou

UFC, Dana White

This past Saturday at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane battled for the undisputed heavyweight title. Leading up to the event, there was a lot of drama surrounding Francis Ngannou and his contract situation. Saturday night was the final fight on Ngannou’s contract.

Ngannou had a gutsy performance and won a decision at UFC 270. It was later revealed that Ngannou fought with a torn MCL and a damaged ACL. We learned today that Ngannou will have surgery on his knee which will keep him out of action most of the year if not the rest of 2022.

After the fight was over, people were quick to notice that Dana White didn’t wrap the belt around Francis Ngannou. Instead, a UFC matchmaker was the one to wrap the belt around Ngannou. White also missed the post-fight press conference which was very surprising.

Of course, people immediately jumped to the conclusion that White skipped out due to the rift between Ngannou and the UFC. Tonight, White appeared on an exclusive Q&A with ESPN+ where he addressed what happened.

UFC and Ngannou

White said that he was dealing with issues backstage and said that he left before the main event even started. The UFC president didn’t disclose what happened, but he reiterated that he has no issue with Ngannou and he talked about the fact that he was with him all week.

Another thing that White pointed out was the fact that he’s had to deal with issues before in the back. He pointed out the UFC 199 situation where he almost missed putting the belt around the waist of Michael Bisping because he was dealing with drama that was taking place backstage.

During the Q&A, White also talked about the fact that the super fight that the UFC wants to make this year is a battle between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. Of course, Ngannou’s injury and contract situation has created a ton of uncertainty. 

What’s next for Francis Ngannou after UFC 270?

Francis Ngannou

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 270, we saw a unification bout for the heavyweight championship of the world. Francis Ngannou (17-3) was defending his heavyweight crown against the interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-1).

Despite Ngannou’s incredibly dominant run to the title, Gane entered UFC 270 as the betting favorite. Gane and Ngannou used to both train under Gane’s trainer Fernand Lopez and that caused a lot of drama leading up to the fight.

Given Gane’s elusive style, many thought he would be able to outpoint the champion. Well, through two rounds, that’s exactly what happened. We didn’t know at the time, but Ngannou was suffering through severe ligament damage in his knee.

It’s damaged to the point where he needs surgery. However, he fought anyway at UFC 270. He didn’t look like himself and he definitely wasn’t explosive early on. However, the game plan changed in third round and it saved his title reign.

Ngannou caught a high kick from Gane and took him down. Throughout the third round, Ngannou was able to control the interim champion. From that point, Ngannou turned into a wrestler. He won the final two rounds after that and retained his title at UFC 270 by unanimous decision.

What’s next after UFC 270?

Most of the time when we write these articles, we talk about who the UFC will pair against the winning and losing fighters. However, there’s more uncertainty with Ngannou than anyone else in recent memory. 

One thing that makes things cloudy is the fact that he will have to have knee surgery. With that, he’s likely out most of the year. Ngannou fought the final fight of his contract at UFC 270, but he has a champion’s clause that keeps him with the UFC through the end of 2022.

That said, he might not even be able to fight the rest of the year due to the knee injury. Ngannou’s representation and the UFC appear far apart right now from a potential deal to extend the champion. However, there’s plenty of time to work through it.

My gut tells me that a deal will be worked out and Ngannou will remain with the UFC. However, don’t expect him back until maybe the end of the year. With that, I could see the promotion making another interim heavyweight title.

If they do, I’m expecting a matchup between Stipe Miocic (20-4) and Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). The GOAT vs the heavyweight GOAT with the winner being lined up to fight Ngannou either at the end of 2022 or first part of 2023.

After coming up short at UFC 270, what’s next for Ciryl Gane?

Ciryl Gane UFC

We are just days removed from UFC 270 where we saw a battle for the undisputed heavyweight title. Francis Ngannou (17-3) was defending his title against the interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-1). Gane was the betting favorite heading into UFC 270.

There was a lot of drama surrounding this fight. There were questions surrounding Francis Ngannou’s health and his contract situation. In addition, there was also drama considering the fact that Gane and Ngannou used to train together under Fernand Lopez.

The fight was a classic clash of style. Raw power in Francis Ngannou taking on elite footwork and elusiveness of Ciryl Gane. Through two rounds at UFC 270, it sure looked like the footwork was going to win out.

Ciryl Gane got off to a hot start and was picking Ngannou apart on the outside. Ngannou was limited in his movement and Gane just kept touching him throughout the first two rounds. Universally, it seemed like Gane was up 2-0.

However, Ngannou made a big change in the third round. Ngannou went to wrestling and Gane couldn’t stay on his feet. The champion secured takedowns and top position for the final three rounds and went on to retain his UFC title.

What’s next after UFC 270?

This fight at UFC 270 meant so much to Ciryl Gane and you could see the disappointment on his face after the fight was over. It seemed like the fight was in his hands, however, Ngannou’s flipping of the script changed everything.

Now, Gane has suffered his first loss and it’s back to the drawing board. With that, what will the UFC do with the former interim champion next? Well, a lot will come down to what happens with Francis Ngannou.

Obviously there are contract issues, but Ngannou also has a damaged MCL and ACL that will require surgery. If surgery is required, I could see the UFC doing another interim heavyweight title and Gane could be in the mix there.

A potential opponent to look out for is former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-4). Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is floating out there too, but I suspect that Jones only fights Ngannou or Miocic next.

If not one of those two, another potential UFC opponent would be Tom Aspinall (11-2). Aspinall is taking on Alexander Volkov in March to headline UFC London. If Aspinall wins, a matchup with Gane would make a ton of sense.

Uncertainty ahead for UFC and heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou

UFC, Dana White

This past Saturday at UFC 270, we saw a heavyweight title unification bout between Francis Ngannou (17-3) and Ciryl Gane (10-1). The fight had an interesting backstory with both men having trained together in the past and Gane’s head coach used to be Ngannou’s.

However, that wasn’t the most compelling backstory heading into UFC 270. The most compelling part was the fact that Ngannou was fighting the final fight of his contract. It was incredibly compelling because normally, free agency isn’t this open when it comes to champions and the UFC.

Most of the time, fighters are resigned before reaching this point. However, Ngannou’s representation has remained firm in their requests and Ngannou has not budged. Today, we learned a little more regarding the contract situation between Ngannou and the UFC.

The heavyweight champion defeated Ciryl Gane on Saturday to retain his title and now he’s locked in a champion’s clause. That clause will keep him with the UFC for the rest of the year. In addition to that, we learned that the promotion has tried to extend Ngannou.

Uncertainty between UFC and Ngannou

On the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Ngannou said that the UFC has offered him extensions, but he walked away because it wasn’t just about money. Ngannou made $600,000 guaranteed for his victory at UFC 270. However, between Saturday and his win against Stipe Miocic, Ngannou said that he’s left over $7 million on the table.

Dana White didn’t wrap the title around the waste of Ngannou on Saturday and he wasn’t at the post-fight press conference. While there is no publicly known reason as to why, the media has run with the narrative that White is being petty.

In my opinion, the UFC definitely wants to be in the Francis Ngannou business. He’s the ideal heavyweight champion. However, it’s clear that Ngannou and his camp want things that the promotion is not willing to sign off on.

I think we are in for a very long negotiation and honestly, there’s time. Ngannou is going to have knee surgery which will likely keep him out most of if not all of this year. During that time, I expect there to be negotiations between the sides.

For all parties involved, I hope a deal gets done and I think one will eventually get done. However, there’s a long ways to go and there’s a lot of uncertainty at the moment.

Francis Ngannou uses wrestling to defeat Ciryl Gane at UFC 270

Francis Ngannou

In the main event of UFC 270, we saw a showdown for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) took on interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0) in one of the more highly anticipated heavyweight title fights in history.

This was such an intriguing matchup and it had some personal routes. For UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the issues are with Gane’s head coach. Fernand Lopez used to be Ngannou’s head coach. He is now the head coach of Ciryl Gane. There has been some verbal back-and-forth between the two men.

Ngannou made the switch to Xtreme Couture and Eric Nicksick a couple of years ago and he led Ngannou to the UFC heavyweight title last year when Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic. During Ngannou’s rise, Ciryl Gane was also rising up through the ranks under Fernand Lopez.

Gane had a sensational 2021 that saw him go 3-0. Everything culminated for him when he defeated Derrick Lewis to become the UFC’s interim champion. That interim title was his ticket to taking on the undisputed heavyweight champion tonight.

UFC 270 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 270 heavyweight title fight kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Ngannou takes the center and Gane circles on the outside. The champion immediately pressures and Gane shoots for a takedown. However, Ngannou defends well. Solid clinch from Gane here but Ngannou breaks.

Jab from Gane lands. Body kick from Gane and Ngannou gets a clinch. Gane reverses the position and lands a nice knee to the body. Knee to the body lands for Ngannou and they break. Jab lands from Gane. Big body hooks from Ngannou and Gane circles away.

Gane moving well here and he lands a nice jab. Spinning back kick to the body lands for Gane. Knee to the body lands for Gane. Stiff jab from Gane here and Ngannou is just stalking here. The two come together in another clinch and Ngannou pushes Gane against the fence.

Knee to the body from Francis and Gane reverses the position. Lots of pressure now from Gane and he lands a knee. Another good knee from Gane and Ngannou lands a hook to the body on the break. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Gane at UFC 270.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 270 and Ngannou is already looking tired. They touch gloves and here we go. Gane bouncing on the outside while Ngannou holds the center. Front kick lands for Ngannou and a side kick to the body lands for Gane.

Back to back low kicks from Gane and he lands a stiff jab behind it. Powerful low kick lands for Gane. Ngannou just plotting forward but not throwing much. Every time Ngannou throws he’s way out of range. Gane clips Ngannou with a right hand over the top.

Whiff from Ngannou and the two men clinch. Gane pushes Ngannou away and they are back to range. Big body kick lands from Ciryl Gane and now Gane is picking up the pace. Big low kick lands for Ngannou and Gane counters with one of his own.

Gane circles on the outside and he lands two more kicks. Body kick lands for Ngannou. Boos from the crowd as neither man are extremely active here. Big uppercut just misses from the champion and Gane hits him with a low kick. The round comes to a close and it’s 2-0 Gane at UFC 270.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 270 and Ngannou needs to get going here. They touch gloves to start the third and Gane lands two straight low kicks. Uppercut lands for Ngannou but it seemed to more graze Gane. Big whiff from Ngannou.

The two men come together in a clinch and Ngannou slams Gane to the ground. Immediate side control from the champion. Heavy top pressure here from Ngannou but Gane scrambles and gets the dominant position. Scramble to the feet and Gane presses Ngannou against the fence.

Hip toss from Ngannou but Gane pops right back up and gets back to the clinch. Gane presses Ngannou against the fence. Spinning elbow from Gane and the two separate. Side kick from Gane and a nice hook to the body lands for Ngannou.

Ngannou looks exhausted here with a minute left in the round. Gane bouncing on the outside but eats a low kick from Ngannou. Ngannou shoots for a takedown and gets it. The round comes to a close and the champion takes the third with his takedowns. 2-1 Gane at UFC 270.

Round 4

Entering the fourth at UFC 270 and Ngannou switched strategies and gained some momentum in the third. They touch gloves and Ngannou takes the center. Low kick from Gane lands and he lands a front kick to the body. Jab from Gane lands and a low kick behind it.

Ngannou plotting forward here trying to time Gane. Front kick from Ngannou and Gane lands a low kick behind it. Big shot to the body from Ngannou. Powerful low kick from the champion and then Gane lands a very stiff jab. Spinning back kick from Gane.

Front kick lands for Gane. Big body kick from Ngannou and he gets to a body lock. Big takedown from Ngannou and he gets to the back of Ciryl Gane. Gane controlling the wrist of Ngannou to avoid the ground and pound. Ngannou leaning on Gane here.

Gane gets back to his feet but Ngannou drags him right back to the ground. Ngannou nearly gets to the mount but Gane defends well. Half guard from Ngannou and he’s doing a really solid job of controlling Gane. Gane uses the fence to try and get back to his feet.

However, he eats a nasty knee to the body. Nice ground and pound from Ngannou and the round comes to a close. Another big round from Francis Ngannou at UFC 270.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC 270 and I think this is all even. The touch gloves and Gane pushes forward. They both connect on solid shots and Gane lands a leg kick. Nice left straight lands for Ciryl Gane. Another big exchange from both men.

Gane getting the better of things here and now he lands a takedown. Sweep from Ngannou and now the champion has the top position. Gane attacks a leg lock and it’s close, but it’s not locked in deep. Ngannou scrambles and he ends up in the top position.

Mount from Francis Ngannou. Heavy top pressure here from the champion but there’s not a lot of action. Gane tries to scramble but Ngannou is holding him down for now. Under a minute to go and any big moment could win this fight for either man.

Gane tries to get up, but Ngannou pushes him right back down. Ngannou attacks an arm-triangle but the round comes to a close. The champion should take the round and the fight at UFC 270.

Francis Ngannou def. Ciryl Gane by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

UFC 270 Preview: Francis Ngannou – Ciryl Gane

Ciryl Gane UFC

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 270, we will see a showdown for the undisputed heavyweight championship. Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) takes on the interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0) in one of the more highly anticipated heavyweight title fights in history.

This is such an intriguing matchup and it’s got some personal routes. For UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the issues are with Gane’s head coach. Fernand Lopez used to be Ngannou’s head coach. He is now the head coach of Ciryl Gane. There has been some verbal back-and-forth between the two men.

Ngannou made the switch to Xtreme Couture and Eric Nicksick a couple of years ago and he led Ngannou to the UFC heavyweight title last year when Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic. During Ngannou’s rise, Ciryl Gane was also rising up through the ranks under Fernand Lopez.

Gane had a sensational 2021 that saw him go 3-0. Everything culminated for him when he defeated Derrick Lewis to become the UFC’s interim champion. That interim title is his ticket to taking on Francis Ngannou for the undisputed title tomorrow night.

UFC 270 Prediction

When you break down this UFC 270 headliner, Ciryl Gane has the better overall game. From a technical perspective, Gane is one of the best strikers we’ve ever seen in the heavyweight division. He moves like someone in the middleweight division and he controls distance better than anyone.

On top of his striking, he has very good grappling skills. Skill for skill, you would have to favor Gane and that is why he’s the betting favorite at UFC 270. However, Ngannou has a great equalizer that can’t be ignored. Ngannou has more power than anyone we’ve ever seen in the UFC.

If he connects cleanly once, it’s hard to imagine anyone standing up through it. That’s what makes predicting this fight so difficult. I think that Ciryl Gane is going to have a lot of moments tomorrow night. He’s going to control distance well and he’s going to frustrate Ngannou at times.

However, whenever they get in close, I’ve seen some holes in Gane’s boxing defense. He keeps his chin up too much. If he does that with Ngannou, it’s only going to take one shot. From a technical perspective, I want to pick Gane to win. However, my heart is telling me that Ngannou will land that perfect shot at UFC 270.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou by KO – Round 2

Ahead of UFC 270, contract questions surround Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou

This weekend is UFC 270 and the focus should be on the main event. The main event is an undisputed heavyweight title fight between the champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) and the interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0). Ngannou and Gane used to train together and both had the same head trainer.

There is a little bad blood between Ngannou and his former trainer. Everyone should be focused on UFC 270 for the heavyweight title fight that takes place. However, there is one storyline that is developing outside the cage that is grabbing a lot of headlines.

This weekend, Francis Ngannou will fight out of his current UFC contract. The champion is on the last fight of his current deal. Now, there is a champion’s clause to the contract that states if Ngannou remains the champion after Saturday, the UFC has him under contract for the next 12 months.

However, Ngannou said he would wait it out if he’s not given a new contract. Ngannou’s management recently said that the UFC nearly finalized a new deal with them over the summer, but when Ngannou couldn’t make their Houston PPV work, the contract offer was pulled.

UFC and Ngannou at a stand still

When you think of a classic heavyweight champion, you think of Francis Ngannou. A man with a tremendous life story, larger than life in reality, and he has devastating knockout power. Ngannou is the closest thing that the UFC has ever had to Mike Tyson.

The promotion should be promoting him like crazy, but for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen. Ngannou hasn’t been given the star treatment that he should and that’s likely being voiced by his management team. A management team that clearly doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Dana White.

If Francis Ngannou starches Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, the UFC needs to play ball. Ngannou could be the biggest star in the sport not named Conor McGregor if he’s promoted correctly. That said, if Ngannou loses on Saturday night, he might be done with the UFC for good.

There’s so much on the line Saturday night. Ngannou could be looking at a future where he’s the biggest star in the world. Or he could look down at the shattered glory with not a clue about what comes next.

Three UFC fights that need to happen in 2022

Conor McGregor, UFC

The calendar is getting ready to turn over to 2022 and the UFC has big plans for the next calendar year. There were so many big fights that took place in 2021, and the world’s premier MMA organization will look to continue that next year.

Some of the notable fights that took place this year are the two fights with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Charles Oliveira became the UFC lightweight champion when he knocked out Michael Chandler.

UFC 261 featured the return to arenas and saw Kamaru Usman and Rose Namajunas score big knockout wins in their title fights. Then you had the fight of the year at UFC 268 when Justin Gaethje defeated Michael Chandler.

So many epic moments and epic fights took place this year. As mentioned, the UFC is already making fights through April of next year. There are some big things in the works.

That being said, what are some of the fights that are must makes for the promotion next year?

UFC fights that need to happen

Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz 3

This one feels like an obvious choice. The UFC needs to make the trilogy between Conor McGregor (22-6) and Nate Diaz (20-13). It’s a perfect time in both men’s career to run this fight back.

When they first fought, Diaz shocked everyone by submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 196. Then McGregor won an instant classic in the rematch at UFC 201. Since then, the trilogy has been always on the table.

However, the UFC has never pulled the trigger on it. Given where both men stand, I think it’s the perfect time for it.

Colby Covington – Jorge Masvidal

The next fight the UFC needs to make is arguably the biggest grudge match there is to make. That would be the matchup between former teammates and close friends Colby Covington (16-3) and Jorge Masvidal (35-15).

Both of these men are also in a very similar position. They’ve both lost to Kamaru Usman twice and will need some big momentum to warrant a third shot against the UFC champion.

They’ve been jawing at each other for the past couple of years, but the fight has never come together. Now is the time for the UFC to make this happen and even perhaps make them coaches on The Ultimate Fighter.

Jon Jones – Heavyweight Champion

The last fight the UFC needs to make this year is booking Jon Jones‘ (26-1, 1 NC) return fight for the heavyweight title. We haven’t seen Jones in the UFC since the beginning of 2020.

Jones has bulked up in anticipation of his heavyweight debut which is expected to be for the title. Next month, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane will battle for the undisputed heavyweight title.

You can imagine that Jones will be watching closely. He’s hinted that he wants to fight the winner next summer, and I think that would be an ideal situation for the UFC.

Four UFC champions who will lose their title in 2022

2021 proved to be a wild year in the UFC. There was a ton of turnover in terms of champions. During this calendar year, we have seen a total of seven new champions. Only five champions retained their titles in their respective weight classes. One of those champions, Amanda Nunes (21-5), did lose one of her titles this year.

I was a bit surprised by the massive championship turnover in 2021. That said, there were a couple that I did see coming. To me, the most obvious one was Francis Ngannou (16-3) winning the heavyweight title by defeating Stipe Miocic (20-4). Yes, Stipe is an all time great, but I just figured it was Francis’ time.

However, there were also some massive surprises this year. A couple that immediately stand out is Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) defeating Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1). The biggest shock of the year came back at UFC 269 when Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world by submitting Amanda Nunes.

Now, it’s time to look forward to next year. There are 12 total divisions in the promotion and there are no two-division champions. With that in mind, which champions are most likely going to lose their status this upcoming year.

UFC champions who will lose in 2022

Aljamain Sterling

The first and most obvious choice for a UFC champion to lose is Aljamain Sterling (20-3). I mean that in no disrespect, but he’s the lone champion on the roster who really didn’t earn his championship. Sterling won the title at UFC 259 by disqualification after Petr Yan (16-2) hit him with an illegal knee.

It’s important to remember that Sterling was getting smashed by Yan when the foul took place. Not even Aljamain Sterling believes he was on his way to winning that fight. Sterling and Yan will run it back in the first part of 2022 and Sterling is a big underdog.

I don’t see any scenario where Sterling beats Petr Yan. If he somehow does, I think TJ Dillashaw (17-4) is also likely to defeat Sterling if they were to fight for the title in 2022.

Julianna Pena

The next UFC champion to lose will be Julianna Pena. I give Pena all the credit in the world for what she did at UFC 269. She shocked the world and proved everyone wrong. What’s remarkable is she won in the exact fashion in which she said she would. She defeated the GOAT and broke her during the fight.

It’s already been acknowledged that the UFC will run things back immediately. Nunes is already a massive betting favorite despite losing to Pena in the first fight. I think we are going to see the Amanda Nunes that we all thought we were going to see in the first fight when these two run it back.

It’s a great story and nobody can take that win away from Pena, but I can’t pick her to defeat Nunes in the rematch.

Glover Teixeira

Another incredible story in the UFC during 2021 was Glover Teixeira (33-7). Glover became the oldest man to ever win a UFC title for the first time when he defeated Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267. If you would’ve told me that Glover Teixeira would be a UFC champion in 2022, I would have said you were crazy.

However, I think his Cinderella run is coming to an end early in 2022. I firmly believe that the best light heavyweight in the world at the moment in Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka will get the first crack at Glover next year and I think he’s going to take away the title by finishing him.

Francis Ngannou

One of my favorite fighters to watch in the UFC is Francis Ngannou. He has this Mike Tyson-like vibe to him that we’ve really never seen before. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and when he puts people away, it’s usually a very scary scene.

Ngannou finally climbed to the top of the mountain in 2021 and became UFC heavyweight champion. However, he’s going to have a massive mountain to climb to keep his title in 2022. Ngannou will have to beat the two toughest matchups for him in the heavyweight division.

Next month at UFC 270, Ngannou will be taking on Ciryl Gane (10-0). Gane is unlike any heavyweight we’ve ever seen in the UFC. He’s a massive man who moves with the fluidity of a middleweight. His technique and precision will be very difficult for Ngannou to deal with.

However, Ngannou has the power to put anyone away and if he connects on Gane, he can put him out. Let’s say that Ngannou makes it past Gane. Well, then he’s going to have to face the greatest to ever do it in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Like Gane, Jones will pose a big stylistic problem for Ngannou given his skillset.

In a technical battle, Ngannou doesn’t beat Gane or Jones. That said, he can put both men out if he connects. While no one should count him out, it’s hard to imagine him beating both of them next year.

Stipe Miocic down to fight Jon Jones or Francis Ngannou in UFC return

MMA, Stipe Miocic

In a couple of months, UFC 270 will play host to a massive heavyweight title fight. The heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (16-3) will be defending his title against the undefeated interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0).

While there is a ton of attention on this title fight, there are a couple of huge heavyweight contenders lurking in the shadows. The biggest one being arguably the greatest fighter of all time in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones has been bulking up for over a year anticipating a move to heavyweight.

Lately, the former light heavyweight champion is weighing just under the heavyweight limit at 260 pounds. Jones has been rumored to be the front-runner to face off against whoever wins at UFC 270. However, there’s another contender that’s flying under the radar.

That contender is the former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (20-3). Miocic is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight in the promotion’s history. However, he has a history of being overlooked and essentially disrespected by the UFC.

Last March, Miocic lost his heavyweight title to Ngannou. Despite having gone 8-2 in his last ten which includes six wins in title fights, Miocic has been mostly out of the conversation in terms of the heavyweight title picture.

UFC Return

Back in August when the UFC booked Ciryl Gane against Derrick Lewis for the interim heavyweight title, Miocic wasn’t even considered for the fight. While this has certainly annoyed Miocic, the former champion is taking it in strides as he prepares for his return.

Miocic talked with Ariel Helwani today and the two discussed his UFC return. The former heavyweight champion made it clear that he would fight anyone, however, there are a couple of fights that really interest him.

“I’m down [to fight Jon Jones] … Obviously, I really want that trilogy fight [with Francis Ngannou],” transcribed by MMA Fighting. The UFC and Jon Jones can never seem to get on the same page these days. In my opinion, Jones would be the promotion’s first choice for the winner of Ngannou – Gane.

However, I think Miocic is likely to get the shot given the negotiation issues between Jones and the promotions. It’ll be interesting to watch this play out, but either way, I’m excited to see Stipe back in the octagon sometime next spring.