Somewhere along the way of Francis Ngannou’s meteoric rise to the top of the heavyweight division, it became a trend to doubt and discredit the former title challenger. Ngannou lost a one-sided championship bout to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 and then participated in one of the dullest contests in the history of the UFC against Derrick Lewis at UFC 227. For many, those two bouts seemed enough to wipe out all of Ngannou’s previous dominant performances and, at only 32 years old, he was written off by legions of fans. And it is because of this ostracism that Francis Ngannou feels so appreciative for those who did not lose faith in him and helped to rebuild the Predator leading into his first-round TKO over Curtis Blaydes in the main event of UFC Beijing. Ngannou took to Twitter to express that gratitude:
“I finally saw the light yesterday night at UFC Beijing by overcoming my darkness which dragged me deep to the bottom,” Ngannou wrote. “My fans, my family and all those people who trust and believe in me have got persecuted by haters and doubters but they didn’t give up and they kept supporting me and that’s where I found strength to overcome all this.”
“I wanna thank every single one of you, who once trusted me and who kept supporting me, who stayed beside me and who didn’t stumble.
“I’m grateful to have any of you known and unknown by my side and in my life since this is all my life.”
“Thank you China and particularly Beijing for welcoming us and for all the love and energy you guys put in, it was an honor for me to perform for you guys such an amazing people and a great crowd. #TheRedemption.”
What do you think lies ahead for Francis Ngannou in 2019?