After Francis Ngannous’ victory over Ciryl Gane, the champion revealed that he will be requiring knee surgery and unable to train for around 9 months. This therefore leaves the division in a difficult space where the champion can’t fight, and they previously just had an interim title in August.
With Jon Jones waiting in the wings for his debut at heavyweight and Stipe Miocic unable to find an opponent since his defeat at Francis Ngannou at UFC 260, I believe it makes perfect sense for a fight to be made between the two so that they can establish who is next for the undisputed champion.
However, there are fights being announced around the top 5. Tom Aspinall is seeking to break into contention with a main event vs Alexander Volkov at the O2 Arena. After 4 finishes in a row, Aspinall has projected himself into a spot headlining the UFCs London card. Both fighters have title ambitions of their own, with Volkov looking to capitalise after a win vs Marcin Tybura at UFC 267.
Tai Tuivasa is also looking to leapfrog his way into the top 5, facing off in Houston against hometown Derrick Lewis, fresh off of beating Chris Daukaus just before the start of the new year. I believe with both bouts being just over a month from each other. It makes perfect sense for the winners of Volvok v Aspinall & Lewis v Tuivasa to face off against each other in their quests for heavyweight gold.
This however leaves the likes of Ciryl Gane in a difficult position, with may fighters around the rankings competing against each other, it creates a difficult situation on who to fight. This is why I believe he should fight Curtis Blaydes who is without an opponent. This provides an interesting style match up with striker vs wrestler which has big implications on the title moving forward.
Francis Ngannou v Ciryl Gane was the first heavyweight title fight that didn’t involve either Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier since 2015. There are many interesting fights going on at heavyweight, with many of the new age coming through and staking a claim in the division and all vying for their own chance to become the baddest man on the planet.