It looks like the UFC’s ‘next big thing’ turned out to be exactly what they wanted him to be. Francis Ngannou has laid waste to the last ten people that he’s fought, with K-1 and PRIDE veteran Alistair Overeem recently added to the list of victims. He’s a giant natural talent that used to be homeless and didn’t even know what MMA was five years ago. He’ll be going up against reigning UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who still manages to hold down a job as a full-time firefighter. It’s an incredible match-up that’s got Dana White more excited than he’s been since Conor McGregor boxed Floyd Mayweather.
“This fight is awesome. I can’t wait. When we put together that promo [for UFC 220], I watched it 650 times. I love it. I mean, two knockout punchers. Two guys who come forward and try to finish you. It is the perfect heavyweight match-up. It’s one of the — if not the best heavyweight fight we’ve ever done. One of the best ever in the history of the UFC. It’s in Boston. The thing sold out immediately. […] [Ngannou is] somebody we’ve been focused on for the last year and a half but I didn’t expect that. You see the way that punch landed [on Alistair Overeem], it’s like something out a movie. Super impressive.”
— UFC (@ufc) January 2, 2018
“For all the people that are writing Stipe off because Francis is such a killer: First of all, [Miocic is] very athletic. He’s small, he’s fast and he hits really hard. He has a very well-rounded game, his wrestling is great. I mean, this is a very tough fight. This isn’t a [a fight where] Francis just walks in and just clubs this guy and that’s it. Don’t forget, [Miocic] just knocked Alistair Overeem out impressibley in the first round too. This is an incredible heavyweight fight with two incredible athletes. Two incredible knockout punchers. Me and [Joe] Rogan were talking about it other day and I can’t wait until the lights drop, the music starts and these two start walking out of the tunnel in Boston.” — Dana White speaking to YAHOO! Sports Kevin Iole.
What we have on our hands here isn’t just the biggest fight card to come to Boston since Conor McGregor faced Dennis Siver back in 2015, but what White is hyping to be one of the biggest heavyweight fights of all time. Just imagine if Francis Ngannou manages to become the first African champion in the UFC? The ceiling is only as high as Ngannou wants to climb and he’s got the knockout power to burst right through it. January 20th is when it goes down at the TD Garden.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/4/2018.