Six UFC fights, all finishes, complete with an action movie-style knockout over Alistair Overeem. This is Francis Ngannou. The next big thing. The monster who is walking into the Octagon in a week against Stipe Miocic, a fight the heavyweight champion says himself that the UFC wants him to lose. However, can Ngannou fulfill all of the UFC’s prophecies? Francis Ngannou thinks he can and he will, in two rounds at UFC 220 in Boston.
“I’ve never been in that level but I always train for that level. When I go to my training camp, I train my conditioning, everything, I prepare [for] a regular fight, for the regular round fight. Even the fight against Alistair Overeem, I was already prepared for five rounds because I knew I was going to have Stipe [Miocic] after that. That is the problem because people always want to believe what they see.”
“I think it’s going to be a long time before they really see that because on Jan. 20 I don’t see myself going [to the] third round, fourth round. No, I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to finish Stipe in under two rounds. I do embrace [the pressure]. I think I had [more] pressure on my last fight against Alistair [Overeem] than I do for this one. As I said before, I couldn’t avoid [talking] about these two fights and I had that pressure for two fights. Now it’s only one fight. Now I’m more confident. I know I have everything to win this fight. It’s something that [I’ve dreamed] about my whole life. Now I get my mind set for that and we’re going to do it on January 20th.” — Francis Ngannou on the UFC 220 conference call as transcribed by FloCombat.
Does Stipe Miocic have the tools to conquer this hype beast? Of course he does, but all fights start standing and anything that stands in front of Francis Ngannou is on a countdown to unconsciousness. His record-breaking power aside, Miocic’s crisp boxing and college-level wrestling will end up being easily Ngannou’s biggest test. If he manages to pull off what he says — especially with his incredible story — he will be the gigantic star that the UFC needs with the absence of Conor McGregor.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 1/12/2018.