After five fight cards were canceled in two months due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje made its highly-anticipated return.
While Jacare Souza and two of his cornermen tested positive prior to the event, it appears everyone else did not contract the virus, which is a positive for sports.
If the 2020 UFC schedule is able to continue after three successful events in Jacksonville, FL, the hope is they can continue what should be an exciting year.
With Stipe Miocic willing to fight Daniel Cormier only if he gets a full training camp, the latter believes Francis Ngannou is deserving of a shot after UFC 249 if the champion is ultimately stripped, according to Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie:
“If Stipe won’t fight, then Francis Ngannou has earned a title fight,” Cormier said on the UFC 249 post-fight show on ESPN. “If somebody is fighting Francis Ngannou for the title, it’s going to be me. All respect in the world to Francis Ngannou, but I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll fight anybody on any planet. I love Francis, I think he’s a sweetheart person. I would love to do my trilogy with Stipe Miocic, but if Stipe won’t fight, they’re going to take his belt just like Henry (Cejudo) gave up his and they’re going to make a fight between Francis and I for the belt. It’s as simple as that.”
As for Ngannou, he would ‘love’ to share the Octagon with Cormier for a championship bout before he eventually retires, according to TMZ Sports:
“First of all, I would love to share the Octagon with Daniel Cormier before he retires.”
With Cormier recently turning 41 years old in March and contemplating retirement in the past, there is a sense of urgency on his side to set up this trilogy fight.
As for Miocic, he is a part-time firefighter and focused on helping those in need during this pandemic, but needs a training camp to defend his heavyweight belt.
With Miocic waiting to see when he can return to training, White may not have very much patience as it will likely be more than a year since he defended the belt.
If Miocic gets stripped, Cormier is ‘not afraid of anyone’ which is quite a statement as Ngannou has rebounded from two straight losses with four wins by KO/TKO.