Coach believes Francis Ngannou can become the unstoppable force again after his slight dip in performance before challenging for the UFC heavyweight title.
Ngannou is still trying to find himself as an overall MMA fighter instead of just being a striker. At the UFC 220 PPV (pay-per-view) event at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on pay-per-view, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic successfully retained his title at the time in the main event by scoring a dominant decision win over the title contender.
Moving along to the UFC 226 pay-per-view event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Derrick Lewis was able to pick up a unanimous decision win over the former title contender.
Syndicate MMA under coach John Wood told MMA Fighting in a recent interview that he believes Ngannou will return to the gym for his rematch with Curtis Blaydes, which is a rematch that saw Ngannou win the first time around by second-round TKO in 2016. As a result, he thinks he can get Ngannou back to his dominant ways.
“Francis is always a pleasure,” Wood said. “Nicest guy, funny dude, always enjoyed having him around. Great to have him in the gym, always playing with the kids. Just a good dude, man. I never had any experience like that with him at all.”
“We’re still talking about how amazing Francis is. That’s MMA. It’s hard to say. … Is it maybe too soon? It’s a little early in his career. Is it too soon for him to handle it? Eh, he’ll keep growing and get better and I think eventually he’ll end up with that title.”
“He’s still learning, he’s still growing,” Ngannou said. “And yes, he’s still green. That dude is a freak. It’s a freak how fast he learns, how strong. In another year or two, if he keeps moving the way he is, yeah he’s gonna be an unstoppable force. But some people take to it quicker. There’s just little pieces that need to click. But if he goes out there and starches Stipe with one punch, then … we’d be thing he’s the best fighter there’s ever been, that kind of thing.”
Blaydes and Ngannou are slated to fight at the upcoming UFC Beijing event (also known as UFC Fight Night 141) on November 25, 2018 at Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China.
The main card will air on FOX Sports 1 while the preliminary card will be split broadcasted on FOX Sports 1 and the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass.