Jairzinho Rozenstruik – Interim title bout between Stipe Mikocic and Jon Jones would not be fair to the rest of division


For months, rumors have circulated that the UFC is targeting an interim heavyweight title fight while undisputed champion Francis Ngannou is on the sidelines recovering from knee surgery. Former two-time champion at heavyweight Stipe Miocic would face former champ Jon Jones, who was a former lightweight champ. But some fighters in the heavyweight division, MMA Fighting’s No. 9-ranked heavyweight Jairzinho Rozenstruik for one, don’t think much of that idea.

“I’m not going to be focusing right now on the champion because we know that he was injured and had surgery. But the concern, the biggest problem, is what’s going to happen, because an interim title is coming,” Rozenstruik told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Who is going to fight for the interim title. Some names are up in the air, and I disagree with them, because we are the fighters that keep the division up and running. I understand the point of it. It’s a fight that people want to see, it’s going to be a good fight, but I think it’s unfair compared to us, who has kept fighting during COVID, during all this. It takes [been] 2 years. You then sit down and you aren’t active. Then, you jump in for the title shot .”

The rumored title fight for the interim heavyweight champion puts the division in quite a mess. Jones, in fact, hasn’t competed in over two years after vacating his light heavyweight belt in 2020. Similarly, Miocic hasn’t fought in over a year since his title loss to Ngannou at UFC 260. Rozenstruik feels that there are better contenders than Jones and Miocic, given the fact that other heavyweights with top rankings have been consistently fighting and winning.

“Jon Jones, Stipe, they are trying to match up,” Rozenstruik stated. That’s exactly what I see. This is unfair in comparison to what we have. We’ve been fighting, so we should get a chance. I think somebody who should definitely get a chance is Curtis Blaydes. I don’t know against who, but he’s there, and he has been winning fights.”

Rozenstruik is more pertinent to Ngannou’s problems with the interim title because of his situation. Ngannou has had surgery and will not be able to fight until 2023,. The heavyweight champion could also miss his UFC bout. He fought the last fight under the UFC contract, and said that he would become an independent agent starting in December.

With a lucrative boxing match against Tyson Fury a possibility, Ngannou may not re-sign with the UFC. Rozenstruik, at least, believes this is the most likely outcome.

” Hopefully [Ngannou re-signs] I doubt it, but maybe,” Rozenstruik stated. “If I was him, I’ve got this opportunity, I don’t come back. I’m already the champion, I’ve seen it all, I’ve got a bigger opportunity, why should I go back? I won’t be surprised [if he doesn’t re-sign]. Tyson Fury’s fight is a big deal. There are a lot on the line.

“I don’t know. It’s up to you to solve it. Find out what your career goals are and where you stand in your career. I’m 34. It’s 34.

In the meantime, all Rozenstruik can do is attempt to maximize his own opportunities. “Bigi Boy” is set to face Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Vegas 56 on Saturday.