Francis Ngannou has proven himself to be one of the most exciting heavyweights in UFC history
He is one of the hardest hitting punchers in the division and will put it to the test again at UFC 270.
The Cameroonian takes on former sparring partner Cyril Gane for the right to be called the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion on Saturday.
However, during his time with the UFC, the 35-year-old has become one of the toughest fighters on the planet and there is now genuine interest in him boxing WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Many would say Ngannou’s stock skyrocketed the night he put Alistair Overeem to sleep in 2017.
Bearing in mind that Overeem had fought in and around the top of the UFC heavyweight division for years, he was the first big name Ngannou had to face in the company and after knocking out his five opponents before Overeem, many were curious as to how he would adapt.
The response was extremely good. Ngannou would knock Overeem out with a scintillating uppercut in the very first round after fending off The Demolition Man’s attempts to manhandle The Predator.
Even Overeem was forced to acknowledge the quality of the finish and he called the punch “uppercut from hell”.
“No damage and everything is in good health fortunately .. unfortunately lost today. Accessories to @francis_ngannou, I received an uppercut from hell, one of his specialties which we knew was very dangerous. A little time off now before we go back to the drawing board,” Overeem tweeted after the loss.
UFC boss Dana White knew he had a superstar on his hands after this victory and he had every right to be excited about what many people called the UFC’s answer to Mike Tyson.
“We struggled to get him to fight,” White said of Ngannou’s lack of fights in 2017 after his win over Overeem. “But once we keep this guy active and you see him do this to all the big stars you know, and yeah, I think this guy is going to be a rock star in the world.”
“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.
“He looked amazing tonight. Wow… That’s as impressive a heavyweight knockout as you’ll ever see.
However, there was a bump in the road. Ngannou let immediate fame go to his head and he would follow that devastating knockout with two losses, one of which was for the UFC heavyweight title.
White strongly believes it was Ngannou’s ego that let him down.
“He had a pretty quick rise here, and obviously the Alistair Overeem fight catapulted him, everyone was talking about him,” White said.
“I thought he was going to be the next guy. I think his ego ran away with him with great fanfare. I can tell you his ego absolutely ran away with him.
“And the minute that happens to you in the fighting game, you see what happens. You start to crumble. I had personal encounters with him, like other people in the organization, and this guy’s ego was so out of control.
“Before the Stipe fight, he took off and went to France,” White said. “I wasn’t even really training for this fight. And you see the results. Well, he’s coming back and he’s been training, but that’s just – the ego that hurt Francis Ngannou.
Still, Ngannou appears to have his ego under control and he is now on a five-fight winning streak that culminated in the UFC heavyweight title win.
Win or lose at UFC 270, he now has his eyes on the biggest names in heavyweight boxing and he’s ready for action.
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