Francis Ngannou is set to clash with UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220. The rising Cameroonian-French MMA standout opened as the betting favorite in the scheduled matchup. Joe Rogan spoke at length about Ngannou and how he could bring back the Mike Tyson era of fear to the UFC heavyweight division.
In the title eliminator clash with former K1 champion Alistair Overeem, the Dutch kickboxer attempted to clinch with Ngannou but had no success due to the 31-year-old’s clinch defense. When the two heavyweights were separated by the referee, Francis landed an iconic shovel punch that sent Overeem to the canvas.
Joe Rogan spoke about Francis Ngannou’s potential star power in a podcast episode with Bellator heavyweight Justin Wren and compared the African knockout artist to Mike Tyson via MMA Junkie:
“Now they’ve got a star,” Rogan said. “I think Ngannou, one or two more fights, you’re going to be looking at Mike Tyson days. That’s what I think. You’re going to watch fights just to see how long these motherf**kers can survive against this guy. That’s what I think. That could be their big, breakout star.”
Francis Ngannou emigrated from Cameroon to Paris and his relative inexperience in MMA has made his life intriguing to fans. The rising knockout artist stuns MMA fans with his physical strength and charismatic presence. The science behind his power also backs up what MMA fans have seen Francis deliver in the octagon. He currently holds the world record for highest punching power ever measured by the UFC performance institute.
UFC President Dana White has also endorsed the 31-year-old as a future star of the heavyweight division.
Current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic quickly signed up to take on the challenge of fighting Ngannou and the two titans are set to meet at UFC 220, in which light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is set to defend his title against Volkan Oezdemir after a no-contest bout with Jon Jones.
With Ronda Rousey all but officially retired, Jon Jones’ and Conor McGregor’s futures uncertain, Francis Ngannou could be a much-needed UFC star in the making. Miocic is expected to have an advantage on the ground if he is able to wrestle Ngannou and keep him down.
However, all fights start on the feet and MMA pundits agree that Ngannou’s knockout power will put any fighter out.