Dana White offers new defense for UFC interim heavyweight title, Francis Ngannou responds

Dana White

Dana White has offered a new explanation for tonight’s interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 265, drawing a quick response from Francis Ngannou.

Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis will collide in tonight’s event headliner in Houston with the promotions interim heavyweight title up for grabs. It is undoubtedly an exciting matchup, but given the fact that Francis Ngannou just won the heavyweight title back in March, many fans are not happy with the interim strap being associated with the bout.

On Thursday afternoon, UFC President Dana White responded to the criticism and offered up the following new explanation.

“When they fight Francis, it’s like the old days of the IBF vs. the WBC champion, and you unify the belts,” White told MMA Junkie. “That’s exactly how I look at it.”

Dana’s new explanation clearly did not lighten the mood of Francis Ngannou, as the promotions reigning heavyweight kingpin shared the following rebuttal.

“I heard something today (from Dana White) like, ‘It’s going to be like the IBF and WBC unified title.’ No, there’s not a unified title,” Ngannou told Sirius XM’s Jimmy Smith. “It’s one promotion, it’s one belt, the UFC belt. It’s not like it has a different name like the PFL coming to challenge the UFC, then we talk about unify the belt. I was there expecting to fight, and they just come up with some sort of interim title. That was very surprising because in the past we didn’t get an interim title, because Stipe wasn’t active and they didn’t even consider that at all. They didn’t want to talk about it.”

Dana-White-Stipe-Miocic-Francis-Ngannou
Photo via UFC 220 weigh-ins

Francis Ngannou continued:

“I’m at the point where, when it comes to me, nothing good is coming my way, it looks like. They aren’t making anything good to come my way. It’s OK, but I think at this point regarding my last run, I deserve at least some respect as a UFC champion. I’ve been down, I know my low time, and I face it.”

As for his next fight, ‘The Predator’ has not heard anything new from Dana White and the UFC in weeks.

“Radio silence,” Ngannou said. “It’s been radio silence. Hopefully they will not come out and be like, ‘Oh, you’re fighting this day.’ Then I’m like, ‘It doesn’t make sense.’ Then they’re like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t want to fight.’ I won’t do that again, because apparently they are really good at this type of thing.”

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