We’re now almost a week removed from Francis Ngannou’s tough loss to UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. This loss was as lopsided as they come, as Ngannou emptied his gas tank early, and spent the rest of the five-round affair clinging to life opposite the patient and powerful Miocic.
While Ngannou’s first crack at the UFC heavyweight title was more or less a disaster, his coach Fernand Lopez feels there are a few positives that can be taken away from the bout: namely, Ngannou showed he’s got heart.
“The fight didn’t go our way, that’s clear for all to see,” Lopez told MMANytt. “We were expecting the level of skills that Stipe brought, he was awesome and his levels changes were beautiful. We were lucky he didn’t try to finish Francis, but he didn’t every try to commit to many submission or anything. There were some good things that Francis did. He showed amazingly bravery and he never gave up. No one was thinking it would ever go 25-minutes, but Francis hung in there in the face of great adversity.”
“He did a good job to hang there, but I won’t lie, I was disappointed. When I saw Francis rush in and throw a high kick, I was shocked,” Lopez said. “That wasn’t at all in the gameplan. That must’ve been Stipe’s dream. Have someone rush him and try to take his head off. That made it easy for him to change level and get the takedown. As a cornerman, you simply can’t do anything. The gameplan was to manage the range and throw some combos, but be cautious and to step back out and keep the distance so he couldn’t bring his wrestling. That didn’t happen.”
“I’ll be honest, I’ve not talked to Francis about it yet. I don’t like to have a debrief straight after the fight. I like to have two weeks to let the fighter think and digest the fight. When he’s ready, two weeks later I’ll talk with him and try to understand why he went for that gameplan and that strategy. I didn’t expect what happened. The gameplan was so different, but Francis just went rushing after him, hunting him and yeah it just wasn’t what we had planned.”
What do you think is next for Francis Ngannou?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2018.