Next Saturday night (Jan. 28) Francis Ngannou will undergo the most stern test of his young mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Ngannou will meet former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title holder Andrei Arlovski at a UFC on FOX event in Denver.
Since losing the second fight of his career, the “Predator” has gone on an eight-fight winning streak. He told Flo Combat that “The Pit Bull” may be fighting for his UFC contract:
“I think that he really comes to fight every time. He lost the last three fights, but now he really wants to come back and he knows another loss will be really dangerous for him. If he loses it may put him out of the UFC and as you say, he has been a legend in MMA for many years now.”
Arlovski’s three-fight skid left him winless in 2016. He was finished by current UFC champion Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett. Ngannou is still taking Arlovski seriously heading into the bout.
“I think that for the fight I have to be careful and very smart because Arlovski has a lot of power like me. He’s got very dangerous striking and I’ve got to be careful of that. He also has good grappling so I must take care if he tries to take it to the ground.”
Ngannou currently sits at No. 10 in the heavyweight rankings, while Arlovski finds himself at No. 7. A win over Arlovski would certainly move Ngannou to a higher position. Still, he believes he will have to do more if he expects a chance at gold.
“I don’t think I will be getting a title shot until I can prove I can beat someone in the top-5 and I think I might even need to beat someone else before I can get into the top-5. That’s for sure. I will have to win and win well to get selected for a title shot.”