Francis Ngannou is skeptical about the legitimacy of Junior Dos Santos’ Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Dos Santos was awarded his black belt by Yuri Carlton in December 2012, but Ngannou said he’s seen nothing that justifies it. Because of that, he’s not intimidated by the potential of a submission threat.
“First of all, I don’t believe that jiu-jitsu black belt,” Ngannou said during a media scrum at the UFC Performance Institute. “I don’t believe that Dos Santos jiu-jitsu black belt. I don’t know where he’s from, but I don’t believe that. And I don’t mind that at all.”
“But you never know what some fighter is going to come out with. I always keep thinking maybe he’ll try some wrestling or a takedown, but it’s not his comfort zone. I don’t know. He might try everything. But the most important is I’m prepared for every little thing.”
Walking in the @UFCPI and ran into a monster and almost ran away, then I realized it was @SHAQ. I think this is the very first time that somebody has made me look so little. pic.twitter.com/ywf0DHbaJJ
— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) June 13, 2019
“UFC on ESPN 3” takes place June 29 at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Ngannou is coming off consecutive first-round knockouts of Cain Velasquez and Curtis Blaydes, which he already believed was enough for a shot at the belt. If he beats another former champion in Dos Santos, he sees no alternative.
“I was expecting a title fight before,” Ngannou said. “So seeing as they didn’t give me that and I’m No. 2 and he’s No. 3 (in the UFC rankings), so (Miocic) and champ (Cormier) they’re fighting, so I think the winner of this fight will take the winner of that one.”
Ngannou might have questions about Dos Santos’ ground game, but odds are it will all be irrelevant on fight night.
“I think I’m the best boxer in the heavyweight division, and I think I’m going to prove it on the 29th,” Ngannou said. “I think he’s a very good boxer, but I’ll have to show that I’m better than him.”