Tonight’s UFC 218 co-main event between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou just got upgraded to number one contender fight in the UFC’s heavyweight division. This new status was announced by UFC president Dana White during his post-fight media scrum in Las Vegas, following Friday’s TUF 26 finale event.
Having been uncharacteristically inactive due to failed contract negotiations, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic now has a stake in tonight’s featured heavyweight bout.
Having already faced and defeated Alistair Overeem, Miocic could wind up facing the hardest hitting man in the world in Francis Ngannou, as the African breaths new life into the UFC’s struggling heavyweight rankings.
During the media scrum, the UFC president confirmed that the promotion and their heavyweight champion are in a good place now, “We get shit done,” said Dana White. “We always figure it out. We’re in a good place.”
The running rumor in MMA circles was that former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez would face Stipe in first quarter 2018, but Dana White quickly killed those talks during yesterday’s address to the MMA media, stating, “Cain? When’s the last time you saw Cain fight? Cain hasn’t fought in forever. Cain’s going to have to come back and fight somebody to even think about that spot. I’m sure Cain doesn’t want to come back and jump right in the fire. He’s been out for a while.”
This statement prompted the UFC boss to name who is next for the heavyeight king, and he confirmed that it’s the winner of tonight’s co-main event.
“Whoever wins [between Alistair Overeeem and Francis Ngannou] is going to fight Stipe.”
The usually active UFC champion in Stipe Miocic hasn’t fought since his May 2017 title defense over former champion Junior dos Santos. It was his only fight on the 2017 calendar.
Miocic started questioning his fighter pay when he learned that Alistair Overeem actually made more than him when the two fought back at UFC 203. Ever since the champion remained very vocal about not fighting until he got a better contract.