If UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou is to be believed, the identity of his next opponent didn’t matter much so long as they were world-class and able to unlock the door to a future title shot.
Now, with the hard-hitting Cameroonian signed to fight Alistair Overeem on December 2 at UFC 218, it would appear Ngannou has been granted his wish.
Overeem, 43-15, the number one contender according to the UFC, remains one of the biggest names in the sport of mixed martial arts and was last seen scoring a decision win over former UFC champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 213. Before that, he knocked out Mark Hunt in three rounds.
This is a test, then, both of Ngannou’s potential and also his title credentials. Beat Overeem, especially this Overeem, a man on a good run of form, and he will be as worthy as anyone for a shot at UFC gold.
Ngannou, 10-1, has won all five of his UFC fights to date, with each of them ending inside schedule, and took just 92 seconds to knock out Andre Arlovski in January. He is ready for a step up in class and will duly get one come December.
The December 2 bout between Overeem and Ngannou is set to take place at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.