At the beginning of this year, Francis Ngannou was on the cusp of being anointed MMA royalty. The Cameroonian heavyweight had surged up the UFC rankings on the back of a string of sensational knockouts and, just four years into his MMA career, Ngannou was set to fight for the UFC belt. Many thought he would knock out the champion, Stipe Miocic, and go on to reign over the heavyweight division for year.
But Miocic had other plans.
The UFC heavyweight champion neutralized Ngannou with his wrestling skills and took the young challenger into deep waters, draining Ngannou’s conditioning and winning a unanimous decision. Now, as Ngannou prepares to return at UFC 226, the No. 1-ranked heavyweight says the Miocic fight was an important step in his development as a fighter.
“I collected a lot of experience and I learned a lot from that fight,” Ngannou told Helen Yee recently. “This is something that would have happened anyway someday because my rise was very fast, so I jumped a lot of things. I didn’t discover somethings that would catch me later. At some point I can even say it’s the best thing that happened because if it didn’t happen in that fight, it might happen in the future. Now it happened this time. We take it, we learn it, we stand up, we move forward. That’s how life is.”
Ngannou moves forward this weekend in a highly anticipated clash with heavyweight slugger Derrick Lewis. Lewis has also made a name for himself as a knockout artist and has been highly critical of Ngannou in the media, saying Miocic should have stopped Ngannou and that Ngannou is got overhyped because he was knocking out old fighters. For his part, Ngannou thinks Lewis is just talking to talk because “The Predator” believes he is better than Lewis at everything.
“What advantages do you think I have over Derrick Lewis? All of them,” Ngannou said. “Of what you can imagine, I think I have all that over him. He said I knocked [Andrei] Arlovski out because he’s old — he was 37. Mark Hunt was 43 when he beat [Derrick Lewis]. Hunt made him quit. I think [Lewis] just doesn’t know what he’s saying.”
Ngannou’s fight with Lewis is pivotal; Lewis is the fifth-ranked heavyweight so Ngannou believes a win would keep him in the title discussion and perhaps one fight away from a rematch with Miocic. And if he does get that rematch, Ngannou believes he had all the tools to beat Miocic in their first fight but he wasn’t quite ready so he wouldn’t change much for a second go around.
“I would just get my conditioning on point. What I’ve got already will be okay.”
Francis Ngannou fights Derrick Lewis on the pay-per-view main card of UFC 226 this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Weird MMA. MMA fighter Johnathan Ivey fakes injury, later taps out despite nearly winning.
Stepping down. Andre Pederneiras steps down as Nova Uniao leader.
Watch this now.
A complete history of the UFC heavyweight rankings.
Chael setting up future fights for himself.
Severe MMA. Discussing International Fight Week and all the MMA retirements.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
David Branch getting creative with the call out.
Yo @JacareMMA I have to order this imitation shit, let me eat some live alligator. Let’s get this done in São Paulo Brazil! @danawhite @Mickmaynard2 @arielhelwani @espn @MMAFighting @MMAjunkieJohn pic.twitter.com/NOihqjTePc— David Branch (@DavidcBranchMMA) July 1, 2018
This is some weird training.
Vitor is definitely coming back.
If you could choose one of those fights to happen again, which one would you like to see? @wandfc @titoortiz1999 @chuckliddell @mikebisping @danhendo Se vcs pudessem escolher uma dessas lutas para acontecer de novo, qual delas vc gostaria de ver? #bfl #workout #fitness #diet #coconutcreek #parkland #bocaraton #coralsprings #southflorida #teambelfort #belfortfamily #bflfamily #ufc #mma @belfortfitnesslifestyle
Thanks for the memories. Next chapter begins...!!!! @seanshelby @danawhite @Mickmaynard2 & Joe Silva thank you for giving me my opportunity and to the @ufc @UFC_AUSNZ staff for making it an absolute please along the way. Onto whatever’s next pic.twitter.com/H665kDNd01— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) July 1, 2018
This is Tim Boetsch’s natural habitat.
️ ️— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 30, 2018
Satoshi Yamasu with brilliant 1R finish at Deep
how I've missed soccer kicks ! pic.twitter.com/Cd7FobN1GR
Fresh off of a FOTY contender with Senzo Ikeda, Yuya Wakamatsu becomes the first man to finish lighter-weight legend Mamoru Yamaguchi! Ryo Chonan's prized pupil, "Little Piranha" moves to 10-2 with nine KO/TKOs. #Pancrase297 pic.twitter.com/xvrdweIZCm— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) July 1, 2018
Kayin Lay KO's Raktawan with.. a magic wind punch I guess. Ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/VWyBhMKuMY— inxxane (@inxxane) July 1, 2018
DAMN. Disgusting standing elbow KO by Kaique Modesto at Shooto Brasil 85 pic.twitter.com/YovbmZC6qZ— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 30, 2018
faceplant— Jolassanda (@Jolassanda) June 29, 2018
nice head kick KO by Lucas Chocolate (Shooto) pic.twitter.com/Pwo2IPEIPW
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2011: Dominick Cruz defended the UFC bantamweight championship for the first time (having been awarded the belt when the UFC absorbed the WEC) by winning a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber at UFC 132. This event also featured the final UFC win of Tito Ortiz’s career, when he submitted Ryan Bader with a guillotine choke.
Take two on the new look MMA Hour so be sure to check that out today. Otherwise, it’s the biggest fight week of the year so buckle up.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
With so many good fights this week, we’re doing a week of all fight polls. So, who takes it?
This poll is closed
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