Francis Ngannou is riding high going into his heavyweight bout with Alistair Overeem at UFC 218.
If you recall, Overeem lost to heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic by first-round knockout at UFC 203 just 14 months ago.
UFC 218 is set to take place on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The main card will air on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET while the preliminary card will air on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET and the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, at 6:15 p.m. ET.
The UFC prospect thinks there’s little interest in a second fight and that the UFC wants him to win this fight as it would be a fresh matchup with the current UFC champion.
He also thinks that if he is able to win this fight, then he would deserve a crack at the gold after beating Overeem.
“Not just because (I’m a fresh contender), because I deserve it,” Ngannou said at today’s UFC 218 open workouts (transcript courtesy of MMA Junkie). “I’m contender No. 4, and Alistair is contender No. 1. After I beat him, what should be my ranking? Probably No. 1. Then I’ll get right to the title shot. I’m on five straight wins, and this one will be my sixth.
“I’m the contender who hasn’t fought,” he continued. “Ahead of me are Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, and Alistair Overeem. Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem already fought and loss to Miocic. Cain has an injury. I’m the right one. After I beat Alistair Overeem, I will be contender No. 1.”
A UFC featherweight championship bout between current champion Max Holloway and former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is expected to serve as the main event. Rounding out the five bout main card is Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis in a flyweight bout, Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje in a lightweight bout, and Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson in a women’s strawweight bout.
Ngannou is itching to get back in the octagon after a more than 10-month layoff following his knockout of Andrei Arlovski at UFC on FOX 23 in January,
“I think I have good motivation,” Ngannou said. “I have a lot of good people behind me. I have my personal goal, something that I grew up with. I have my background, something I don’t want to live again. I have my family back home I want to help. I have people back waiting for me that rely on me. … There are many things collected together that help me.”
“I’m probably the faster one with Alistair Overeem,” Ngannou said. “I believe that I am the best, and I will prove that I am the best.”