Rozenstruik wants more fights before title shot

UFC 252: Dos Santos v Rozenstruik
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The top-five ranked heavyweight contender is being patient when it comes to asking for a shot at UFC gold.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is taking a more patient approach on his quest for championship gold.

The No. 4 ranked heavyweight is set to meet Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC Vegas 20 on Saturday night, in what is considered a potential No. 1 contender fight. A win over Gane would put Rozenstruik in prime position to ask for a championship opportunity against the winner of the rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou at UFC 260. But that doesn’t sound like a fight he’s looking to lobby for right now.

Rozenstruik partook in a pre-fight media day in Las Vegas on Wednesday afternoon and explained why he believes he is not yet ready for that heavily sought after title shot in the division.

“I want to be ready for the title fight and I don’t feel like I’m ready right now,” said Rozenstruik. “Why am I saying that? I want to get myself going, being in the washing machine and in the Octagon. Get that feeling, especially after last year. It was a really bad year for all of us.

“I can speak for a lot of fighters, too. I’m a fighter who likes to be busy. Two [or] three or four fights a year and last year I had two fights. So, it took a little bit longer because of the pandemic to get back in the Octagon.”

After stunning Alistair Overeem in a come from behind knockout win at UFC on ESPN 7 in December, Rozenstruik waited until May to get his next assignment due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was then paired up against a fellow knockout artist in Francis Ngannou at UFC 249, where he was put to sleep in just 20 seconds and bounced from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Rozenstruik successfully rebounded from the first loss of his professional career three months later with a second-round knockout over former champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 252. And after returning to the win column, the Surinamese fighter is more focused on extending his win streak again than a chance at gold.

“For me, it doesn’t matter,” said Rozenstruik. “I want to win and after this one I’m looking for a quick turnaround. I want to fight one more before I fight [for] a title shot. So, for me, Jon Jones can go first.”

Names like Jones and Derrick Lewis have been thrown around as next in line for the current champion, and Rozenstruik is fine with them getting their chance. But when the time comes and he is finally ready, Rozenstruk is aiming for whoever ends up being at the top.

“I want to fight the best. If Jon Jones is sitting on the throne, Stipe or Francis, that’s what we’re after. The gold and who is sitting on the throne. That’s the person we’re after.”

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