At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou will have his second chance to claim the UFC heavyweight title when he once again challenges Stipe Miocic for the title of “baddest man on the planet.” In their first fight, Miocic survived an early blitz from Ngannou and then dominated the rest of the fight with his superior wrestling and cardio. It was a brilliant performance from Miocic and one that solidified his claim as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. But it also was a valuable learning experience for Ngannou.
“I had two different feelings from that fight,” Ngannou told Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “First, obviously I was very upset and disappointed that I didn’t win the fight. As everyone who is fighting for the title, you want to go out there victorious. But to be honest, I always look in that fight since the fight day, just after the fight, I look at it and now I’m like, ‘This is good.’ I learned too much in that fight because even though I was on the level, fighting for the world title, I still have some missing parts in my game and in my experience.
“I remember I was asking myself, questioning myself like, ‘Okay, how does it look like to go into three rounds?’ Basically I was going into a potential five rounds and I’ve never been in three rounds. How did it look like, how is it to prepare for this kind of fight? I had a fight like six weeks earlier so I was having a lot of questions. Then after that fight I was like, ‘Okay, I get it.’”
Heading into the fight, Ngannou’s lack of experience was one of the big questions for prognosticators. Ngannou was 6-0 in the UFC at that time but had only been fighting for just over four years and didn’t come from a sporting background. Looking back, Ngannou says he can see how much he didn’t know going into that fight.
“Yes, a very quick rise,” Ngannou said. “I didn’t spend enough time in the octagon to have that experience. Even though it was almost four years since I’d been doing the sport but I didn’t spend enough time in the octagon to have that experience. I think in one night I covered more than what I’d been spending in the octagon for the rest of my career.
“Some people get here when they’ve been having athlete lives for a long time. Maybe wrestling, maybe doing some different sport at school, at college, but I never got into that stuff. Growing up I was just finding my way to survive and then I end up finding myself in somewhere that I never been there so the experience was just crazy.”
Looking back on it, Ngannou says he can see just how different he fought in his loss to Miocic and how he had to reckon with that to get back to where he is now.
“For the Stipe fight, I think I rush for the first round,” Ngannou said. “Now I’m like, ‘Damn, I had five rounds. Why should I rush and run out of gas?’ Looking at that fight, I watch that fight, I see the guy look like me, but I don’t recognize myself because it’s not the way that I fight. I look back at other fights and it looks like two different persons. The way that I used to fight I was kind of calm, I’d push the fight and let myself get into fight and if there’s an opportunity – most of the time my opponent will be the first to attack. But this one I just rushed in there. So I’m like, I should have calmed down.”
Since adjusting to his loss, Ngannou has gone on a tear, knocking out four opponents in a combined 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Now, he will get his chance for revenge against Miocic next month, an opporyunity he has been waiting on for some time.
“I knew it was going to happen,” Ngannou concluded. “It was frustrating, the waiting time, all those things uncertain, but I knew it was going to happen. Guess what, there’s only one thing that’s gong to make it happen. Get your ass in the gym, work, get out there and win the fight, get a title shot. At some point, it’s going to happen.”
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A fight closer to my natural weight sounds like a great idea
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) February 9, 2021
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Yeah, I’m That Type Of Guy ♂️ Super Post Workout Gains Strategy Learned From Good Ol’e Fathead Himself Let’s See If This Works 2 x Pieces Before Din Din You Know What Time It Is # Tiramisu TuesdayMF’s Official Merch https://t.co/JNxmA38C6z # wHaT’DHeJuStSaY? pic.twitter.com/ZVzRRPKleQ
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) February 10, 2021
Darren Till letting you know exactly where he stands.
Just done a protein fart there & realised the winds blowing to the west. Soon as the Irish Media smell it no doubt my good friend Daniel will be getting the blame.
— karen Till (@darrentill2) February 9, 2021
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And that was 14 years ago!
This was probably the most painful fight of my career my legs were trashed for at least a week Douglas kicks really really hard! https://t.co/VAl1qunLEu
— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) February 9, 2021
Anthony Johnson (13-5) vs. Yoel Romero (22-6); Bellator 257, Apr. 16.
Anthony Smith (34-16) vs. Jimmy Crute (12-1); UFC 261, Apr. 24.
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Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins the rematch?
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