— John Wood (@bigwoodmma) May 4, 2018
Francis Ngannou’s Octagon-shaking rise to a UFC heavyweight title shot was pretty incredible. That rise was made even more impressive by the fact that he did most of his training at the UFC Performance Institute, rather than a legitimate MMA gym.
That is no longer the case. Having failed to capture the UFC heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic in January, Ngannou is now training at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas, where he’s preparing for a UFC 226 battle with Derrick Lewis.
Francis was previously training at the UFC PI and with his coach in France. Looks like he's now at Syndicate ahead of his return in July. https://t.co/iNqt5BY4Mr
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) May 7, 2018
Though Syndicate isn’t exactly a household name, it is undeniably one of the top gyms in the country. Over the years, the gym has been home to fighters like Forrest Griffin, Mike Pyle, Khalil Rountree, Tom Lawlor, Julian Marquez, Roxanne Modafferi, Jessica-Rose Clark, Eric Spicely and Andrew Sanchez. Needless to say, Ngannou will probably benefit greatly from his time there.
Prior to his failed title fight with Miocic, Ngannou was on a 10-fight win-streak. His six most recent wins occurred in the UFC’s Octagon, where he defeated tough adversaries in Luis Henrique, Curtis Blaydes, Bojan Mihajlović, Anthony Hamilton, Andrei Arlovski, and former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 champ Alistair Overeem.
After losing to Miocic, the Cameroonian-born Frenchman assured that he would learn from the experience.
“I’m going to keep improving and come back stronger than I was,” he said at the UFC 220 post-fight press conference. “I learned more [in this fight] than I did in the past four years.”
Ngannou’s move to Syndicate shows that he is definitely determined to keep learning.
What do you think the future holds for Francis Ngannou?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/7/2018.