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UFC on FOX 23's Francis Ngannou adds Cain Velasquez to hit list with Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos


DENVER – After knocking out former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski, Francis Ngannou listed Alistair Overeem and ex-champ Junior Dos Santos as two fighters he’d like to face next.

But that hit list could easily expand to include another prime heavyweight, ex-champ Cain Velasquez.

“I talked about Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, but I just talked about them because I think that Cain Velasquez is injured,” Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) told MMAjunkie after his FOX-televised win Saturday at Denver’s Pepsi Center. “If he’s in the game, I’m ready for him. He’s the next one I’d like to fight.”

After Ngannou notched his fifth straight octagon win in dominant fashion, UFC President Dana White was wrestling with the choice to fast-track the surging heavyweight or develop him further.

“It’s one of those tough decisions when you have a guy that’s this talented and this freakish,” White said. “The guy’s a monster, and I’m really high on him. I think he’s the future. I don’t know if we’ve ever had a heavyweight champion who is as physically imposing and scary as this guy is.”

For such a scary guy, Ngannou was quite the soft-spoken character at the post-fight table. He said he felt comfortable and relaxed in the octagon, and he listened to his corner.

The advice worked. After a few initial misses, he hit Arlovski (25-14 MMA, 14-8 UFC) with a right hand that dropped the ex-champ to the mat for a first-round stoppage.

Ngannou also heard White’s praise for his performance. Of course, that gave him a big boost.

“It made me happy; it made me confident,” Ngannou said. “Today, because of people who pushed me up, I believe and trust in this spot.”

To hear more from Ngannou, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC on FOX 23, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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