After Volkov defeated Greg Hardy this past weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow, Ngannou called him out, but Volkov had other names in mind. He said he wanted to face either Junior Dos Santos, as originally scheduled, or Alistair Overeem next.
The way Ngannou (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) sees it, it’s clear Volkov (31-7 MMA, 5-1 UFC) wants no part of him. In fact, Ngannou claims that Volkov has already turned down a fight with him before.
“Just for the record, Volkov turned down the fight against me twice,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “One was July 2017 and August 2018. He clearly denied to fight me.”
However, Ngannou did show praise towards Volkov’s performance vs. Hardy, crediting him for his composed approach throughout the fight. Volkov has won five of his six UFC appearances, with his lone loss coming to Derrick Lewis at UFC 229, in a fight he was clearly winning.
“I mean, it was a good fight,” Ngannou said of Volkov’s last win. “Fighting with some guy, big guy like Greg Hardy, of course he doesn’t have much experience, but he still hits very heavy and powerful. He handled the fight very well, very smart as always. He always fights very smart.”
And when asked if he’s surprised that Volkov doesn’t want to fight him, considering his high position in the rankings, Ngannou said he feels like the gatekeeper of the division, since the UFC is refusing to give him a title shot.
“The UFC have made it clear for everybody that I’m who you have to fight if you want to fight for the title,” Ngannou said. “It seems like I’m just there to be, to go to the gate. That’s how it looks now. If they want to fight for the title, they have to fight me, but how about me fighting for the title? It doesn’t seem to be in the talk, so that’s exactly what the UFC has made me appear, to be the gate holder. And, yeah, I think Volkov is dodging me clearly. That’s not a secret that he’s dodging me.”
Ngannou went on to elaborate that his last three opponents, Curtis Blaydes and former champions Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, would have all received title shots had they beaten him. Instead, Ngannou took them all out in the first round, notching three straight wins, and he takes issue with not being awarded a title shot.
“I think all my three opponents, they had a title shot promise,” Ngannou said. “I think so, because Curtis Blaydes was title (shot) guaranteed. Cain Velasquez I think it was the same thing. Junior Dos Santos after three wins, it was the same thing. But they are just forgetting about me.”
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