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The
Ultimate Fighting Championship
has no interest in an interim
heavyweight title at this time.

This month, both Francis
Ngannou
(14-3) and Jairzinho
Rozenstruik
(10-0), who are scheduled to clash at UFC
249
in May, spoke with
MMA Junkie
about their meeting being a potential title fight.
Rozenstruik
first
brought up the issue a week before, with the firm belief
that the division needs to “move forward.”

“I think the heavyweight division needs that,” Rozenstruik stated.
“It’s kind of slowed down with the Stipe and Cormier fight, and we
don’t know when the champ is going to return. So for now, put in an
interim belt. I think the heavyweight [division] needs it to move
forward.”

Rozenstruik asked simply, “What’s better than to fight for a title
in a big match?” He continued, “It’s already a big match, and if
you put in the [interim] title, it’s going to be more interesting
for both of us. But for now, it’s still the same: It’s a fight. I
want it really bad, and when it happens, I’ll be in the best shape
ever.”

Speaking to
MMA Fighting
on Thursday, Ngannou further expanded on his
opponent’s thoughts on championship opportunities. According to the
former heavyweight title challenger, the promotion nixed his
suggestion.

He stated, “As I said, I requested that, but there was no interest.
So why wouldn’t I be down for that since I asked for it? I think
the division should move on.”

Ngannou’s frustration stems from the lack of movement in the top of
the UFC heavyweight division’s title picture. At UFC 226 in 2018,
Daniel
Cormier
wrested the title from Stipe
Miocic
by first-round knockout. Over one year later, Miocic
exacted revenge by stopping Cormier in the fourth round, becoming
the first fighter to finish the former two-division champ. The
rematch taking place in August 2019, a rubber match between the two
has been discussed but neither have agreed to any fight.

Ngannou and Rozenstruik were originally set to square off atop the
UFC on ESPN 8 card on March 28, but the event scheduled for
Portland, Oregon, was scratched due to the coronavirus. They were
later planning on facing one another on April 18, but that too was
taken off the table by Covid-19.

Since dropping a decision to Miocic in 2018 and a confusing
decision to Derrick
Lewis
a few months later, “The Predator” has looked nothing
short of sensational. In a combined 2:22, Ngannou has leveled
Curtis
Blaydes
, Cain
Velasquez
and Junior dos
Santos
in the span of about seven months. The Frenchman born in
Cameroon currently sports a 100 percent finish rate.

Rozenstruik has yet to taste defeat as a professional, although he
was very close to losing a decision to Alistair
Overeem
in December. Down on the scorecards with four seconds
left on the clock, “Bigi Boy” demolished Overeem with a thunderous
right hand that stamped his massive comeback and split Overeem’s
lip wide open. Nine of the ten wins on the Suriname kickboxer’s
record have come by knockout, with his lone decision over Andrey
Kovalev
at Rizin 10 in 2018.

The two will meet at UFC 249 on May 9, which will
reportedly
take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in
Jacksonville, Florida. Headlining the event is an interim
lightweight title clash between Tony
Ferguson
and Justin
Gaethje
, while Henry
Cejudo
will defend his bantamweight throne against former king
Dominick
Cruz
.


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