If you haven't heard the name before you should learn it now as he is officially the baddest man on the planet. Ngannou won the UFC Heavyweight Championship this Saturday at UFC 260 from former champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic is widely guarded as the greatest Heavyweight Champion ever making Ngannou's stunning 2nd round KO even more impressive.
The last time these two fought was on January 20, 2018. In that bout we saw a completely different fight, as the champion Miocic used his wrestling and toughness to beat Ngannou by Unanimous 5-round Decision. At the time of this first fight, Ngannou had been in the UFC only 2 years, reaching that feat faster than anyone in the modern era of UFC. After his humiliating loss Ngannou continued training and learning. A 6'4" 260lb man who is desperate to keep learning showed that he was destined to one day be champion, and due to his relative inexperience especially compared to the heavyweights he would continue to fight, Francis Ngannou would only get better.
Ngannou was carrying a 4-fight win streak into UFC 260 against future hall-of-famers like JDS and Cain Velasquez, and other rising stars like Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. In that 18-month streak Ngannou was visibly getting more cut and lean while still maintaining his genetic-freak of a physique, showing his dedication to nutrition and cardio. He would also show glimpses of his growth as a fighter when he stuffed Cain and Curtis Blaydes; two tremendously accomplished wrestlers. It was evident Ngannou deserved a title rematch and after Stipe won his trilogy with Daniel Cormier for the the belt, the "biggest, baddest rematch ever" was scheduled for March 27, 2021.
The first round was all Ngannou, right away his patience was visible and seemed to stump Stipe. Where the big man used to swing aimlessly hoping for a knockout, he was reserved and looking to pick his spots like a true veteran. He landed two hooks that hurt Stipe but didn't visibly hurt the champion. However during Stipe's first takedown attempt, Francis would beautifully sprawl and transition to back side mount and land heavy ground and pound on Stipe that had to hurt the champ. Francis would unsuccessfully go for his own takedown showing his ability to change levels; more evidence in Francis' growth. The first round was over after one or two more jabs by Francis with the challenger taking the round 10-9.
The second round seemed to be over as soon as it started. Stipe was trying to find his rhythm when all of a sudden, the second hook of a 1-2 combo by Francis dropped Stipe. Stipe gathered his composure and was able to stand up into a clinch against the cage with Ngannou throwing shots at his head. Stipe pried himself away from the man and threw a counter right, which stunned Francis for half-of-a-second and was Stipe's best offense all night. Unfortunately the champion was stunned and hurt, and after landing a shot tried to follow up by charging Ngannou and that was the last thing Stipe remembers. As Stipe ran at Ngannou, the new champion would land a Mike Tyson-esque left hook to Stipe's chin, following that with a hammer-fist to the prone Miocic and a new champion was crowned.
This build-up in no way gives enough credit to the man who unfortunately was put on his back the other night. Stipe Miocic is the greatest Heavyweight Champion of all time, surpassing the likes of Cormier and Lesnar, Velasquez and Dos Santos, Silvia and Couture and the list goes on and on. Miocic has the most successful title defenses in the division as well as the second highest win streak in the division's illustrious history. Miocic beat Ngannou two years ago to add to all of this and more than any of his fighting accolades, is a great family man and man of his community, having been a firefighter in Oakwood, Ohio for a number of years. The 38-year old has been the epitome of class while holding the belt inside and out of the cage, making his run as baddest man on the planet for almost six-and-a-half years even more impressive. The champ has faced retirement questions for a year or two now, and if this fight has been his last it was an absolute pleasure watching and being a fan of the Heavyweight G.O.A.T.
But as a fan.... I think he'll be back for his belt.
For now though, there are two names at the top of the Heavyweight division; Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones. The would-be challenger Jon Jones is the every-division G.O.A.T. accumulating a 26-1 record with his only loss being a highly disputed-DQ. Jones will be making his debut at Heavyweight after fighting at Light Heavyweight his whole career sometime in 2021. While it's being speculated his debut will be for the title, nothing is official yet.
One thing's for sure, if the next Heavyweight Championship is between Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, the two men might physically and literally burn the house down in one of the most anticipated sporting events, (Not UFC Fights but SPORTING EVENTS) ever! I can't wait.
For now, all hail king Francis Ngannou, the new baddest man on the planet.