Recently Francis Ngannou called out Alistair Overeem to step up and fight him at UFC 215, and while that’s not going to happen, the latter’s up for a bout with the rising heavyweight.
Ngannou was scheduled to fight Junior dos Santos this Saturday at UFC 215, but, JDS was flagged for a potential doping violation, and was pulled from the card (dos Santos has denied knowingly using banned substances). Ngannou followed up by calling on Overeem to step in, but the fight never came to fruition.
Well, Overeem attended a fan Q&A prior to UFC Fight Night Rotterdam, and he explained why he didn’t sign off on the short notice bout with Ngannou (quotes via MMA Weekly):
“Francis is a very strong guy and he’s doing really good,” Overeem said.
“I’m thinking November, December. I just became a dad again for the third time, so first things first, last month was family time, ever since my fight with Werdum. But yeah, I’m open. If the UFC call me and say lets do this, then I’ll certainly say yes.”
That’s pretty understandable, and it will be interesting to see if the UFC takes a look at booking Ngannou – Overeem. The latter is currently ranked #1, and Ngannou is #4, so ordinarily, one would say “The Predator” has more to gain. But, since Overeem is only one year removed from his KO loss to the champ Stipe Miocic, he’s in need for another pivotal win. Thus, this could be one of the reasons Overeem had this to say:
“I don’t really pay attention to the rankings. I think he’s five and I’m number one. It is what it is. I see that as an opponent. He’s a big guy; he’s a strong guy. I think he’s bigger than me. He’s a challenge and I just see it as a motivation…”
Alrighty then. So, don’t be surprised if this fight goes down before the year is out. Ngannou has won five in a row now since he joined the UFC 2015, and he’s finished all five opponents.