When Junior dos Santos withdrew from his UFC Moscow headlining fight with Alexander Volkov, Francis Ngannou suggested that he’d be willing to step in and replace him. In the end, however, the opportunity to fight Volkov on short notice was instead offered to the amply less experienced Greg Hardy.
Hardy and Volkov will now collide in the UFC Moscow co-main event.
“UFC Moscow in 18 days?” Ngannou wrote on Twitter before it was announced Hardy would be fighting Volkov.
When it was announced that Hardy would get the opportunity, Ngannou responded by calling the fight game “funny.” That’s certainly one way to put it.
I love the UFC game, it's so funny. #UFCMoscow
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) October 22, 2019
‘I love the UFC game, it’s so funny.”
Francis Ngannou is currently riding three impressive, first-round knockout victories over Curtis Blaydes and a pair of former champs in dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. At this stage, he’s probably earned himself a shot at the UFC heavyweight title currently owned by Stipe Miocic, yet with Miocic expected to rematch Daniel Cormier in the New Year, he will either have to wait or take another fight.
The former NFL player Hardy, meanwhile, who was blackballed from the league amid an ugly domestic violence scandal, has fought just six times as a professional mixed martial artist.
After three wins outside the UFC, he debuted with the promotion earlier this year. In his first UFC bout, he was disqualified for hitting Allen Crowder with an illegal knee. He then rebounded with back-to-back TKO wins over Dmitry Smoliakov and Juan Adams. Hardy made his most recent walk to the cage at UFC Boston last weekend, where he defeated Ben Sosoli by unanimous decision — the first three-round fight on his record. This bout was then promptly ruled a No Contest, as Hardy used an inhaler between rounds.
Alexander Volkov, meanwhile, has fought almost 40 times against some of the best heavyweights in the world. A former Bellator heavyweight champion, the Moscow native has been with the UFC since 2016. In that time, he’s gone 4-1, defeating stars like Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and Fabricio Werdum, and losing only to former title challenger Derrick Lewis via last-second knockout.
Do you think Francis Ngannou should have gotten the opportunity to fight Volkov instead of Greg Hardy?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/22/2019.