Heading into UFC 220, Francis Ngannou was thought to be an unbeatable, unshakeable, and unstoppable Predator with a twisted Midas touch: everyone he touches fades to black. And that souped-up description of how Ngannou was viewed wasn’t just felt by his biggest supporters; it was believed by the man himself. With Ngannou’s track record coming into his first fight against Miocic, it was hard to blame him for buying into his own hype.
Five of his six wins in the UFC were by KO/TKO, including his two fights that came immediately before the title fight: KOs over legends Andrei Arlovski and one of the most vicious uppercuts you’ll ever see that knocked out Alistair Overeem.
Ngannou carried as much hype behind him as any fighter in recent history, and the Cameroonian admits that he fell victim to it. He expected the knockout to materialize against Miocic easily, as it had in his previous fights. Today, he believes it was the overconfidence and preconceived notions of how the fight would play out that ultimately cost him.
“Last time, I went in there, and this was one of the biggest mistakes that I did back there,” Ngannou said in an interview with BT Sport released Monday. I went there to knock him out, which is something that I never did, even though almost all my fights has been a knockout. But it always came by itself. I never (looked for it). And for once I (looked for it), it didn’t go well.”
In his next fight following the loss to Miocic, Ngannou didn’t visibly look for any knockout or hardly any offense at all in his lethargic fight against Derrick Lewis later that year. But just like a switch, Ngannou went back to turning everyone’s lights off since November 2018, knocking out Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik without any issue.
“And it just came back,” Ngannou said. “My last four fights, I didn’t call them to be a first-round knockout, and they ended up being a first-round knockout. So we’ll see how this one plays out.”
Indeed we will see in less than one week’s time when the much-anticipated rematch between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou takes place this Saturday, March 27, 2021, from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Will Francis Ngannou knock out Stipe Miocic this time?