One could argue that Andrei Arlovski has little to gain, and a lot to lose, by facing the rising Francis Ngannou tomorrow at UFC on FOX 23. But, according to the former heavyweight champ, a recent run of defeats left him in no position to select an opponent…
Ngannou has finished four straight opponents since he arrived in the UFC, and the French fighter has moved into the #10 ranking as a result. While hardcore fans are certainly aware of Ngannou, the 30 year-old isn’t a household name just yet.
As a result, by agreeing to take on Ngannou, Arlovski is in a spot where a win, likely won’t push him up the heavyweight ranks. But, as the 37 year-old recently alluded to, he doesn’t have much bargaining power right now (quote via MMA Mania):
“Listen, I’m not in that position to pick someone,” Arlovski said. “I lost three fights in a row. 2016 was a sucks year for me. I’m an employee of the UFC, I’m fighting for the UFC. They want me to fight Francis Ngannou, I’m gonna fight him.”
Arlovski should be commended for taking the fight. Although he’s right, in that he likely couldn’t have held out for a fight with say a top contender, he probably could have passed and waited for a safer match-up.
The Jackson-Wink fighter worked his way back into title contention, thanks to a six fight winning streak, before losing consecutive fights to Stipe Miocic, Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem. Alistair also reported that the run of losses left him “miserable”.
UFC on FOX 23 will take place in Denver, Colorado.