It looks like Francis Ngannou’s coach agrees with Dana White’s “ego” callout.
Ngannou fought Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 earlier this summer. Many have called it the worst fight in UFC heavyweight history. Neither Ngannou or Lewis really engaged in any action.
Lewis was the aggressor of the pair, and wound up taking the decision victory. It was quite the fall from grace for “The Predator,” who had previously starched his opposition before his losing skid.
He’s now on a two-fight losing streak. Ngannou suffered his first UFC defeat in January. Stipe Miocic bested him in their UFC heavyweight title fight. Miocic took the knockout artist all five rounds and won the unanimous decision.
After his loss to Lewis, Ngannou has now lost two straight. UFC President Dana White had some interesting comments about the Franchman following UFC 226. He claimed Ngannou’s ego “ran away with him.”
Ngannou’s coach, Fernand Lopez, tells MMANews.pl (via MMA NYTT) that White’s comments carried some truth:
“The only thing I can say is Dana was speaking about Francis’ ego is probably one of the truths that I witnessed that Dana White said,” Lopez said.
“It’s probably the only truth that I know for a fact, that’s a fact. Why am I saying that? I’m saying that because Ngannou is like a brother for me and when you’re dealing with a brother, problems with your brother, you have to be honest with your brother so he can be a better man.
“In order to make Francis a better man, there are some people that have to have the bad role. The bad job is to tell Ngannou ‘You have a big ego and you have changed with the time.’
“That’s the truth. I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘You have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore. Your ego is killing you and it’s just about your ego.’ That’s the thing like.”
Lopez mentioned that prior to his fight with Lewis, Ngannou was actually training with John Wood at Syndicate MMA. This is one reason Lopez believes he dropped the fight to “The Black Beast.” He also revealed that Ngannou didn’t stick to the gameplan they had against Stipe Miocic in January:
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“All the time he was in Vegas he was still in my team,” Lopez said. “He never left the team, the membership. Every time he was asked if he was an MMA Factory member he didn’t let me down on that. He was always saying that. The only problem was, there’s never been a problem between us.
“During the last fight, we decided to make the camp with Syndicate MMA because the gym was close to the UFC Institute. So for his last fight, his mentor was John Wood of Syndicate.
“He called and said to me and asked me if I could come and assist him as a friend and as an assistant coach, which made sense and that was a good thing.
“But what I’m saying is the ego can make you go the wrong way and hurt people.
“Myself I got hurt with a lot of dedication to Francis’ career, I got hurt, a lot. When Francis lost the fight with Stipe, no one ever heard Francis say he lost because he didn’t follow the gameplan. He did the opposite of the gameplan that we worked.
“That loss for Francis, for the belt, had a huge impact for him, but also myself and my gym. Francis being world champion means that I’m a champion coach and that means the MMA Factory is a champion training camp.
“We missed that because he did not follow the gameplan. He followed the gameplans until the title shot and then the next fight (against Lewis) he was in Syndicate MMA.”