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Morning Report: Tim Sylvia says he’d ‘destroy Francis Ngannou in my prime’

Ultimate Fighting Championship 59: Reality Check - April 15, 2006

Tim Sylvia and Francis Ngannou have a couple of things in common.

It’s been 15 years since Sylvia stepped foot inside the UFC octagon. The former heavyweight champion was a promotional staple throughout the 2000s and until Stipe Miocic came along in 2016 he had the most title defenses in divisional history.

Surpassing Miocic and taking the heavyweight torch from the proud Ohioan was Cameroon’s Ngannou. “The Predator” is historically the most devastating puncher in the history of mankind, which led him to the UFC title in his March 2021 rematch with Miocic. Ngannou defended the title once against Ciryl Gane via a unanimous decision before parting ways with the UFC earlier this year. Despite Ngannou’s great success and improvements since his first Miocic fight — a January 2018 unanimous decision loss — Sylvia hasn’t been impressed by the arguable best heavyweight on the planet.

“I don’t think Francis is that good,” Sylvia told Submission Radio. “He’s a monster with heavy hands but his punches come from his hips and he swings wild and crazy. He hits you, you’re going to sleep but a technical fighter like [Jon] Jones and Stipe, they beat him again.

“You saw what he did to Gane. He wouldn’t even stand up with him. He took him down. It was an ugly fight. He talks a lot for only winning a fight then defending against Ciryl Gane.

“I’d destroy him in my prime,” he continued. “If we fought right now he beats me but in my prime, if we could go back in time and I’m in my prime, he’s in his prime, I destroy him. He’s too wild. I was more of a technical striker than he is.

Sylvia, 47, and Ngannou, 36, share another thing in common aside from their statuses as former UFC heavyweight champions. Ideally, both men have admitted they would have liked to stay with and end their careers in the UFC. Unfortunately for them, fighting for their rights — whether in overall athletic freedoms or financials — resulted in early exits.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Sylvia said of UFC fighter pay still being a hot topic. “I know the organization and the people running it and they’re greedy and they just don’t care.”

After Sylvia’s “Fight of the Night” bonus-earning performance against Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, things went south thanks to the arrival of Brock Lesnar in the promotion. The UFC newcomer instantly entered the UFC on a 350/350 ($350,000 to show, $350,000 to win) contract that included pay-per-view points, superseding the two-time champion Sylvia’s 100/100 without pay-per-view points.

Maine’s Sylvia was 24-4 at the time and couldn’t see the logic behind the numbers, therefore, prompting him to negotiate for more money along with pay-per-view points. Discussions never led anywhere other than “The Maine-Iac” offering to fight Lesnar and proposing that if he won he’d get the same contract. According to Sylvia, the UFC didn’t like the idea because of Lesnar’s lack of experience and he asked for and received his release.

Ngannou had his requests throughout his entire negotiation period that followed his Gane victory in January 2022 and he ultimately stuck to his guns, receiving his wish in the PFL. While Sylvia isn’t sold on the talent of Ngannou, he commends his fellow former heavyweight champion for standing his ground.

“It’s impressive. It’s awesome,” Sylvia said. “I’m glad he did it, I’m glad he stood up for himself but I don’t know if it was a mistake for him or not because I know they offered him a really, really, really good deal in the UFC. Some of the stuff he was asking for I don’t understand why it was necessary to be a part of the board and all that stuff. I don’t know.

“I’m glad he had the balls to do it. It would have been better if they got like five of the five top champions to do it all at once. I thought he was pretty good friends with ‘Izzy’ [Israel Adesanya] and Kamaru Usman. Those three were pretty tight. It would have been awesome if they stepped aside and said, ‘Hey, this is the way it is.’ I don’t know if he made the right choice or not. If he gets one big fight in boxing, he’s taken care of for the rest of his life but that’s a big if.

“I think in UFC he might have had that opportunity because UFC did it for Conor McGregor,” he concluded. “But Francis Ngannou is not a big draw. He did well but he’s not the greatest heavyweight of all time like he thinks he is.”


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UFC Vegas 76 Post Show.

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Some Koreshkov.

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Muay Thai time.

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Jack Della Maddalena (14-2) vs. Josiah Harrell (7-0); UFC 290, July 8

Juliana Miller (4-2) vs. Luana Santos (5-1); UFC Vegas 78, Aug. 12

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It still kind of blows me away how much the Gane fight completely warped the perception of Ngannou’s talent. Everyone has seemingly forgotten how unstoppable he looked in the Miocic rematch, which was him fighting without injury. Ngannou clearly isn’t the GOAT or too close to such a status, but he’s evolved into a serious beast. That shouldn’t even need to be pointed out.

Thanks for reading!


Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 78% of 435 total votes answered “Whenever randomly ‘needed’” when asked, “How often will we see the BMF title going forward?

Thursday: 70% of 497 total votes answered “Islam Makhachev” when asked, “Who is the tougher matchup for Alexander Volkanovski?

Wednesday: 60% of 468 total votes answered “Sean Strickland” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Strickland defeated Abus Magomedov via second-round TKO in UFC Vegas 76’s main event.

Tuesday: 74% of 608 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Michael Chandler vs. Conor McGregor happen?

Monday: 79% of 490 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg ever compete in some type of combat variety?

Today’s exit poll:


Prime vs. prime, who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Tim Sylvia
    (138 votes)
  • 78%
    Francis Ngannou
    (513 votes)
651 votes total Vote Now

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