UFC heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik told Dana White that he wants to face Franci Ngannou for an interim heavyweight belt at UFC 249.
Tony Ferguson was initially scheduled to face UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event at UFC 249 on April 18. This is no longer happening after Nurmagomedov “unofficially” withdrew from the bout due to growing concerns over the worldwide COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
UFC president Dana White has assured the fans that UFC 249 will still go ahead and the promotion is reportedly looking for a replacement opponent for Ferguson. Potential replacement opponents for Ferguson include Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor.
As for Tony Ferguson himself, he has stated that he would only be willing to accept fights against 2 opponents – Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.
This could potentially leave UFC 249 without a main event, but this where Jairzinho Rozenstruik wants to step in and save the day. Rozenstruik was booked to fight Francis Ngannou in the main event at UFC Columbus. The event was cancelled due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but the UFC were looking to potentially add the fight to UFC 249 instead.
Rozenstruik recently posted a request to UFC president Dana White on his Instagram, suggesting that he should fight Ngannou in the main event at UFC 249 for an interim heavyweight title:
“Fawaka @DanaWhite! I heard you need a new main card for #UFC249? How about an interim heavyweight belt? It’s about time! We’re ready.” Rozenstruik wrote.
Rozenstruik is currently ranked No. 6 in the UFC heavyweight division. Since joining the promotion in 2019, Rozenstruik has put together a 4-0 record in the UFC (10-0 MMA), with all of his wins coming by the way on knockout. In his last Octagon outing, he faced Alistair Overeem in the main event at UFC on ESPN 7 in December of last year. Rozenstruik finished the Dutch heavyweight via KO (punch) with just 4 seconds to go in the 5th round.
Meanwhile, Francis Ngannou is ranked No. 2 in the UFC heavyweight division. He is riding a 3 fight winning streak, all of which are 1st round knockout finishes over prominent heavyweight fighters including Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Ngannou previously challenged the current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for the belt at UFC 220 in January, 2018. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.
UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is currently recovering from injuries suffered in his last fight against Daniel “DC” Cormier at UFC 241 in August, 2019. Miocic had lost his title to “DC” in their previous fight at UFC 226, but was able to regain it after stopping Cormier via TKO (punches) in the 4th round in their 2nd fight. He is expected to have a trilogy fight against Cormier upon his return.
Cormier has stated that this will serve as his retirmenet fight, regardless of outcome.
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 4th March, 2020.