Francis Ngannou’s two losses in the UFC have one thing in common. That being that before both, he decided to train at the UFC’s Performance Institute. Ngannou decided to train in Las Vegas as opposed to in France with his regular team that had made him the knockout artist he had come be known as.
Before his heavyweight title fight with Stipe Miocic in January, Ngannou worked at the Performance Institute and ended up losing via unanimous decision. Ngannou exhausted himself in the first round and had terrible cardio the rest of the fight. In his fight against Derrick Lewis, Ngannou was hesitant to pull the trigger and was one-half of one of the worst fights in heavyweight history as a result.
After returning to his roots and training in France, Ngannou returned to his former glory. He knocked out Curtis Blaydes in the first round in November in Beijing. Speaking to Bloody Elbow recently, Ngannou’s longtime coach, Fernand Lopez, blamed the UFC PI for his fighter’s two UFC losses:
“Francis Ngannou did all his camps in Paris; he was winning all the fights,” Lopez said. “When he went to Vegas in PI, then he had the problem losing to Stipe. Then he had the second fight in the PI and he lost [to Lewis].
“We worked a lot to have this victory. We really did have a good camp. Two months of hard camp. We tried to work on everything on the mental side, on the conditioning, on the skills. The work paid off. He showed that he’s still there for a long time. He’s not going anywhere.”
What do you think about Ngannou’s coach blaming the UFC PI for his past struggles?