Much has been said about Francis Ngannou’s attitude after his appalling performance against Derrick Lewis at UFC 226. After UFC 226, UFC President Dana White made bizarre claims about Ngannou’s ego, putting his character into question. White claimed that Ngannou’s “ego ran away with him big time”. This was seen by many as a backstab from the UFC President, but Francis Ngannou’s coach John Wood claims that Ngannou does not have a problem with his ego.
“Francis is always a pleasure,” Wood said. “Nicest guy, funny dude, always enjoyed having him around. Great to have him in the gym, always playing with the kids. Just a good dude, man. I never had any experience like that with him at all.”
This is the polar opposite of Dana White’s claims, but the Syndicate MMA coach is not surprised by Dana White’s comments.
“You can’t ever really be taken by surprise by what Dana says,” Wood said. “It’s one of those things, you never know what Dana is gonna say. That’s his thing, to make headlines. He feels a certain way about certain things and he spoke about it. I don’t know what their personal interactions were or had been to that point, but Francis has always been a pleasure for me to be around and never been different toward me. But different people have different interactions. Sometimes people say things that they don’t exactly mean in the moment and they’re pissed off. Everybody was kind of pissed off after that fight. But yeah, nothing is ever shocking with Dana.”
Suffering a defeat can sometimes have a huge effect on fighters. Francis Ngannou’s dominant loss to Stipe Miocic seemed to change Ngannou’s mindset massively. After his loss to Derrick Lewis, Ngannou admitted that the mauling that he suffered at the hands of Miocic instilled fear in him. This was something that surprised his coach John Wood, but he admitted that Ngannou’s honestly would be beneficial.
“I really had no idea about any of that stuff,” Wood said. “That’s getting to know somebody and getting comfortable in camps and working with each other more. Every time you work with a fighter, you learn and grow. That’s something with him I look forward to doing. He took a big step and admitted to his faults in that fight. I think that’s gonna set him in the right direction. I think he’s only gonna come back stronger for it.”
Before suffering two consecutive losses, Francis Ngannou was a UFC heavyweight that struck fear into his opponents. His swift finishes and the way in which he discarded of his opponents, made him one of the most formidable fighters in the UFC roster. John Wood believes that Francis Ngannou can get back to this level, and get his hands wrapped around UFC gold once again.
“If he lands one punch and knocks him out, it’s not too soon and we’re not having this conversation,” Wood said. “We’re still talking about how amazing Francis is. That’s MMA. It’s hard to say. … Is it maybe too soon? It’s a little early in his career. Is it too soon for him to handle it? Eh, he’ll keep growing and get better and I think eventually he’ll end up with that title.”
What is next for Francis Ngannou?