At UFC 220, the knockout machine Francis Ngannou was put up against another unstoppable fighter in now record-breaking champion Stipe Miocic. It wasn’t the performance that was promoted or expected, resulting in Miocic taking the contender into the deepest of waters and dominating him to a decision victory. After his first loss since 2014 and a super quick rush to a title shot, Ngannou will be stepping away from the sport for an undisclosed amount of time and reconnecting with family before regrouping and coming back strong.
“In my dark way, I’m taking some time off which will benefit my personal life by going back home to enjoy family and friends . Then I’ll be back to set businesses up.” — Francis Ngannou on Twitter.
— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) January 25, 2018
“He did a good job to hang there, but I won’t lie, I was disappointed. When I saw Francis [Ngannou] rush in and throw a high kick, I was shocked. […] 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.” — Coach Fernand Lopez speaking to MMA NYTT.
It’s hard not to feel for Francis Ngannou, but he should hold his head high. All the men before him monsters like Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Junior dos Santos – all fell to the hands of Stipe Miocic, but not him. That’s a win in an of itself. Regardless of his short career, he survived when other great fighters weren’t able to. Look at how fast and far Ngannou was able to evolve so quickly, with a step back to the drawing board away from the new bright spotlight and criticisms, Francis Ngannou could come back even more dangerous.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/25/2018.