The look of surprise on Francis Ngannou’s face said it all.
The UFC heavyweight champ didn’t expect to take a brief ride on former UFC strawweight champ Zhang Weili’s shoulder, but that’s what happened during a gym session caught on video.
Afterward, Ngannou marveled at the 115-pound fighter’s strength.
I can't believe that @zhangweilimma just picked me up like I wasn't 293lbs— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) November 3, 2022
I didn't want her to do it I was scared of her hurting her back and was trying to explain this to her....then found myself suddenly up in the air.
Her strength ratio is through the roof pic.twitter.com/smhsP9H91u
“I can’t believe that [Weili] just picked me up like I wasn’t 293lbs,” Ngannou wrote. “I didn’t want her to do it I was scared of her hurting her back and was trying to explain this to her....then found myself suddenly up in the air. ... Her strength ratio is through the roof.”
Ngannou is trying to rebuild strength in his right knee after surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL. The champ fought through the injury in a title unifier against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, which put him on the path to unrestricted free agency. The promotion hoped to book him on its final pay-per-view event of the year, UFC 282, but he expects to be ready in 2023.
Weili, meanwhile, is peaking in advance of her title fight with champ Carla Esparza, which takes place Nov. 12 at UFC 281. She is a significant favorite to unseat the two-time champ, who defeated Rose Namajunas earlier this year to recapture the belt.