Las Vegas, NV — And new. Francis Ngannou heard those words announced Saturday night at UFC 260 as he was crowned heavyweight champion, bringing about the end of the second reign of Stipe Miocic.
The second-round knockout saw a more methodical, patient Ngannou, a performance that instantly caught the attention of MMA fans and pundits worldwide. The UFC’s heavyweight champion is always billed as the “Baddest Man on the Planet,” just as “Iron” Mike Tyson was back in the days he terrorized the boxing ring. But in the case of Ngannou, just as it was with Tyson, the label truly seems to fit.
Stipe Miocic, of course, is a great fighter. One with the most consecutive title defenses in UFC history. And although Ngannou said post fight that he doesn’t feel a need to fight Miocic a third time, after losing to the Ohio native in 2018, the new champ still acknowledges Miocic as the best there ever was.
“Personally, no, I don’t feel a need [to fight Miocic again],” Ngannou stated during the UFC 260 post-fight press conference. “He said I won’t be a champion until he’s retired, so maybe he’ll retire. If not, I’ll still be down to fight him. I had a loss against him, and he stands as the greatest heavyweight of all time. So it makes sense for me to still fight him, if needed.”
Whoever he does fight, one thing is clear with Ngannou: he wants to be an active champ, open to all challengers. “Obviously Jon Jones makes more sense for me, but either way, I’m going to fight,” Ngannou said backstage at the UFC Apex, when asked whether Derrick Lewis or ex-light heavyweight champ Jones should be next. “If Jon Jones doesn’t come to heavyweight, the division has to move. As the new heavyweight champion, I decided to put more activity in the division than there has been in past two or three years.”
That will be welcome news to the rest of the weight class, with contenders like Lewis, Alexander Volkov, and Ciryl Gane waiting in the wings.
Watch the full UFC 260 post-fight press conference with Francis Ngannou above.