Francis Ngannou has stated that not only does he want to become the UFC’s first African champion, but he dreams of headlining the company’s first fight card on the continent, whenever that may be.
And his promoter has no doubt that the fast-rising heavyweight star has the ability to become a big name on a worldwide basis.
Ngannou, after all, has lived on three continents: Growing up in the African nation of Cameroon; beginning his MMA career in the European city of Paris; then coming over to North America and bringing his training to the world’s fight capitol, Las Vegas.
So after Ngannou caught the MMA world’s attention on Saturday night with a violent knockout of one of the sport’s most respected names in Alistair Overeem, UFC president Dana White believes the sky’s the limit.
“We’ve had some trouble getting him a fight,” White acknowledged at the UFC 218 post-fight press conference in Detroit. “But once we keep this guy active and you see him doing this to all the big stars that you know and yeah, I think this guy’s going to be a rock star globally.”
Ngannou, who is now 6-0 in UFC competition, had the look of a potential star from the outset.
“The guy, first of all, when you look at him, he looks like the heavyweight champion of the world,” White said. “I mean, he looks like the heavyweight champion of something. The guy is a monster.”
Plenty of fighters look like potential stars, but at the end of the day, you still need to step up on your biggest fights. That, Ngannou did, needing just 1:42 to drop Overeem with a left hook and set up an expected bout with heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic.
“He looked incredible tonight. Wow,” White said. “That’s as impressive a heavyweight knockout as you’ll ever see.”