Contrary to popular belief, UFC president Dana White was impressed by what he saw from heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou at UFC 270.

Ngannou defeated Ciryl Gane for the unified heavyweight title at UFC 270, the promotion’s first pay-per-view of 2022. It was a surprise to a majority of fans that most of the fight took place on the ground and not on the feet.

The reasoning behind this is Ngannou’s right knee injury that he suffered in camp, which he explained after the fight. He will undergo surgery and will miss at least nine months of UFC action.

During a recent Q&A session with ESPN’s Laura Sanko, White praised Ngannou’s strategy against Gane.

Dana White Was Impressed By Francis Ngannou’s Wrestling Skillset

“I think the main event was a shocker, I don’t think anyone expected to see Francis come in and wrestle,” White said. “It was genius of him to work his wrestling. I don’t know this for a fact but I would guarantee you that Gane did almost no wrestling preparing for that fight. So to come in and implement that gameplan it was brilliant.” (h/t MMA Mania)

Ngannou and White have had their fair share of differences over the years and were capped off by White’s criticized absence from post-fight obligations. Ngannou wants a new contract and the ability to explore a potential boxing match against heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Despite contract negotiations seemingly hitting a dead end, the two sides seemed cordial throughout UFC 270 fight week. White later explained that he was absent from Ngannou’s win due to “stuff going on backstage” at the event.

Ngannou is mostly known for his trademark knockout power, but his grappling has become a weapon and not a liability. This could be bad news for the rest of the division for years to come if the UFC and Ngannou can come to terms.

What did you think of Francis Ngannou’s performance at UFC 270?