Francis Ngannou, a French-Cameroonian juggernaut with c-4 packed into each of his gloves, is now the top contender in the UFC heavyweight division. He is expected to take on the promotion’s heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic some time in the near future – perhaps as soon as UFC 220 this January in Boston.
Whenever this massive heavyweight title fight occurs, Ngannou’s striking coach Dewey Cooper – a former boxer and kickboxer – assures his student will be ready.
“Whenever we get the date, he’ll be ready,” Cooper told MMAJunkie Radio this week. “I like to let things simmer down, refresh yourself, and go again.”
With the UFC heavyweight title now in reach, Cooper also believes Ngannou could become a world-class heavyweight boxer. He’s just that quick of a learner, and that talented of an athlete.
“This isn’t some jock-type guy,” Cooper said. “He’s really smart, he really studies, he really studies, and he really believes what he’s going to accomplish. Everything is coming to fruition right now.”
“He has punching power,” he added. “Anyone that has that equalizer will fare well. If he spends more time and takes it seriously, trains hard, he could be a champ in boxing also.”
“Everyone was so enthralled about the Conor McGregor – Floyd Mayweather fight. I’d like to see Francis, about one year from now, fight whoever the heavyweight champion is, whether it be Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. That would be a real fight, where an MMA fighter could go in there and upset a current boxing champion.”
Francis Ngannou earned his number-one-contender status with a first-round execution of long-time contender Alistair Overeem. His next most recent win occurred back in January, when he knocked out Andrei Arlovski batteries, also in the first round. The surging contender is now 6-0 in the UFC’s Octagon, and 11-1 in sum. Do you think he can poach Stipe Miocic to become the heavyweight division’s apex predator?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/12/2017.