The MMA world is waiting to see if Francis Ngannou ever gets back on track.
The recent UFC title contender was the talk of the sport as recently as last December’s UFC 218. There, he bludgeoned longtime veteran Alistair Overeem with one of the most iconic uppercut knockouts in history.
It was a win that propelled him to a title shot against then-champion Stipe Miocic at January’s UFC 220. A one-sided decision loss derailed “The Predator’s” hype train, however, things got much worse. Ngannou signed on to fight Derrick Lewis at July’s UFC 226. Losing a second straight bout, he appeared scared to even throw in one of the worst heavyweight fights of all-time.
After the loss, UFC President Dana White was quick to take Ngannou to task for supposedly letting his ego get out of control. White recently opened up about the scenario on the ‘UFC Unfiltered’ podcast (via MMAjunkie):
“Francis Ngannou at the time he was coming up, I believed this guy was going to be the guy, was going to be the heavyweight champion. He lost his mind. This guy completely lost his mind and started to act – I don’t know – in a way you just don’t act.
“I completely saw it coming. Obviously Francis Ngannou is a massive, strong, hard-hitting guy, and anything can happen when he gets in there, but Stipe had this thing where he feels completely disrespected. This guy’s always on fire and pissed off at the world and pissed off at us. I saw that coming. I knew he was going (to win).”
White detailed a scene where Ngannou was so sure he was going to dethrone Miocic. The UFC exec claimed he actually left the UFC Performance Institute to go train in France:
“Francis Ngannou left the training center here (in Las Vegas) where he trained for previous fights, took off to France, was in France training or doing whatever he was doing leading up to the Stipe fight because he absolutely, positively knew he was going to be beat Stipe.”
White then closed on the subject by posing the question if Ngannou would ever be able to make it back to the position he enjoyed months ago:
“Ngannou has a lot – I don’t know – he has a lot of things he needs to fix personally and professionally. We’ll see if he ever gets back on track again.”