Without considering the injury he carried into the fight, Ngannou’s successful defense and ability to overcome adversity this past weekend were impressive enough. In the opening two rounds, “The Predator” slipped behind in the contest and appeared unable to get close to his former teammate Ciryl Gane.
But in the third round, one takedown changed the tide. Once it was clear he could find success and control in the wrestling department, Ngannou put his improved ground game on full display. After winning the last three rounds, the champion left the cage with a unanimous decision triumph.
Ngannou Explains “Dumb Decision”
In the aftermath of his victory, Ngannou confirmed that rumors of a pre-fight injury were indeed true, something his choice to wear kneepads also suggested. During his post-fight interview, the Cameroonian revealed he’d suffered a grade 3 MCL tear and a damaged ACL just 25 days prior to the year’s opening pay-per-view.
Speaking to the media shortly after, Ngannou explained his decision to go through with his unification showdown against Gane rather than withdraw and push for another date, a choice he admitted was perhaps “dumb.”
“Leading up to this fight, I get injured. But you don’t know what will happen. I could have withdrawn from this fight, and then get into another fight, get (injured) even worse, you know?” Ngannou said. “We are doing a sport that is very dangerous and you can hurt yourself all the time. So if you feel like there is a chance that you can do it, I think you have to do it.
“And I believe in myself. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life,” added Ngannou. “So I was sure (I could do it). I mean, that must be a dumb decision, but I didn’t wanna withdraw from this fight. I was very confident in my skills in this fight.”
Ngannou’s successful defense, along with Dana White’s decision not to wrap the belt around his waist after and not attend the post-fight press conference, has perhaps left more questions than it answered.
With his contractual dispute clearly not sorted with the promotion, the question begs, will we see “The Predator” continue to defend the title or will he sit out his contract for the rest of 2022 and crossover to boxing next year?
One thing for certain is that with the possibility of knee surgery looming, the UFC will likely have quite a few months to attempt to come to an agreement before the champ would be ready to enter the Octagon again.
How impressed were you with Francis Ngannou’s performance at UFC 270, especially given his knee injury?