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The results speak for themselves: Francis
Ngannou is laying waste to the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“The Predator” continued his path of destruction at UFC 249, as he
dispatched the previously unbeaten Jairzinho
Rozenstruik in a mere 20 seconds in a featured bout at VyStar
Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday night.
Ngannou wasted little time before rushing forward with power
punches, and once he connected with a massive left hook,
Rozenstruik crumpled to the canvas. The Nigerian-born Frenchman
added a couple more follow-up blows for good measure before the
contest was halted.
Although it looked like Ngannou had a clear intent behind his
approach, he claimed that he wasn’t hunting for a quick knockout
“I had fun out there, it wasn’t something I was chasing,” he said.
“When I chase the knockout, it doesn’t work, so I don’t chase
anymore. When he called me out, I’m like, ‘This guy doesn’t know
what he’s doing.’ He just came here and had a few knockouts, but I
didn’t see anything impressive, but I don’t mind people calling me
Ngannou began his promotional tenure with six consecutive
victories, a rapid rise to stardom that earned him a title shot
against Stipe Moicic in January 2018. After being overwhelmed in a
five-round decision loss, Ngannou looked uncharacteristically
passive in his next outing, a forgettable defeat to Derrick
Lewis at UFC 226.
Since then, Ngannou has restored the hype with a four-fight winning
streak that features first-round finishes of Curtis
Velasquez, Junior dos
Santos and Rozenstruik. While Ngannou might very well be the
No. 1 contender in waiting, he could be waiting for a while if
Miocic, the reigning champion, and Daniel
Cormier agree to a trilogy bout later this year.
At this point, Ngannou isn’t going to spend too much time trying to
solve the mystery of what might make him more worthy of challenging
for UFC heavyweight gold.
“I don’t know what it takes to have a title shot in the UFC,” he
said. “To be honest, I’ve made my peace with that. It’s not that I
don’t care, but I don’t want to feel like something is controlling
me. With or without a title shot, I’m still a fighter and still
have what I have and can make a statement.”