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Francis Ngannou admits he ‘underestimated’ Stipe Miocic, vows to ‘come back stronger’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Francis Ngannou faced the media gathered at Boston’s TD Garden following his one-sided unanimous decision loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 Saturday night, and admitted that he underestimated heavyweight champion.

“The Predator” claimed that he had learned a lot from his first title bout.

“I think tonight I learned (something) that I never learned in this sport in four years,” Ngannou said. “I underestimated my opponent and I discovered a new part of this sport that I ignored about it. I learned a lot tonight.”

One of the few heavyweights that require a weight cut to make the 265-pound mark, Ngannou denied that his cut had any impact on his performance. Again, he underlined that taking his opponent lightly and expending too much energy early on were bigger factors in his downfall.

“It was only about four or five pounds because I’m around 270 pounds. That is not the problem. The problem is that I underestimated my opponent and I go to hard for the first round and he was tougher than I thought. So, he resisted and he put out the (better) game plan than me.”

Although Miocic dominated proceedings, Ngannou believes he will eventually fight the champion again. He believes that contesting a five-round fight was the final learning curve that he had to undergo to understand MMA.

“Yes, obviously,” Ngannou replied when asked if he thought he would ever get another crack at Miocic.

“I’ve been in this sport only four years and I know that I will keep learning and improving. What happened tonight, I think it was the last step for me to learn about this sport because it’s the only thing I never faced in this sport.

“You know a five-round fight, I know how to deal with it. This was the first time and I (made) a mistake and that sure will not happen again.”

The MMA Factory fighter promised that he would come back stronger from his first UFC loss.

“I’m going to do the same thing. I’ll keep improving and come back stronger than I was. I think what I learned tonight was the last piece of my game. It was the thing that was missing from my game since the beginning. It was the part that I never had the opportunity to learn. So, I’m going to come back really stronger.”