Francis Ngannou Explains What Went Wrong in the First Miocic Fight and What Changed

Stipe Miocic lands a punch on a grounded Francis Ngannou
Stipe Miocic pummels Francis Ngannou in their first fight

#1 ranked UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou detailed what went wrong in his first fight with reigning champion Stipe Miocic and what he would do differently.

Francis Ngannou first challenged Stipe Miocic for the belt in January 2018. The bout turned out to be a disaster for the challenger, as he was dominated for the entire fight after the first round.

After that bout, Francis had probably the worst match in UFC history with Derrick Lewis. It wasn’t until the Curtis Blaydes rematch that “The Predator” found his confidence back. But what happened in the first Miocic fight?

“When I first moved to Vegas, I didn’t really come to Vegas, like allow myself to be in Vegas. I was still in France, still wanted to belong to the team in France. It was a mistake because when the moment came, I couldn’t be there. I mean, it wasn’t a short notice, but it wasn’t long enough,” Francis Ngannou told Brett Okamoto of ESPN.

Francis Ngannou received a ton of heat from UFC President Dana White following the loss. White even said that Francis’ ego went out of control after the Alistair Overeem knockout win.

Francis Ngannou Says He Never Hit Stipe Miocic Clean

Ngannou, probably the hardest puncher in the UFC, revealed he did not hit Miocic clean in the first fight. However, he credited the two-time heavyweight champion’s toughness. The 34-year-old also stated that he would increase the output in the rematch and not wait for the perfect punch to land.

“I know for sure that he’s very tough. We give him credit for that, but I don’t think I connected a clean shot, you know? Probably some shot that has taken some people down, and he managed that very well. But that shouldn’t be a problem because I shouldn’t be going there, counting on one shot, you know? Most of the time, they break people down with multiple shots, being able to deliver as much as needed. And at the end, when you get a breakdown, maybe the last shots come at some point.”

Francis Ngannou knocks out Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 249

Ngannou on His Cardio

When questioned about his cardio, Francis Ngannou said he would still get tired in a 25-minute bout. Yes, you read that right.

“Yeah, I was tired. And I think everyone going to 25 minutes get tired. Some people more than others. But everyone gets tired. Nobody comes out fresh from 25 minutes of fight. But what I do know is I improved my space, pushing my conditioning, my endurance, and everything. I work on that a lot. And I’m not expecting not to get tired in 25 minutes because that means something is not right, you know? I’m gonna be tired, but how far can I push from the last time? This is the question.”

The feelings are mixed ahead of this fight. Some analysts claim that Francis Ngannou has added new tools to his arsenal (which will help him get the win) such as leg kicks, whereas others feel there isn’t enough tape to give a final verdict. After all, Ngannou’s fights after the Derrick Lewis loss lasted only 2 minutes and 42 seconds.

If you’re thinking, ‘Why are we not analyzing the Derrick Lewis fight?’ Well, you can watch it yourself on UFC Fight Pass, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Francis Ngannou’s interview with Brett Okamoto
Professional Boxing and MMA writer at The Combat Magazine.