Former UFC heavyweight title contender Francis Ngannou suddenly made himself known in the world of mixed martial arts when he knocked out Alistair Overeem in the first round of their UFC 218 bout. That performance created the belief that Ngannou was on the path of becoming a UFC star, with some people calling him the Mike Tyson of MMA.
Unfortunately, Francis Ngannou failed to live up to expectations in his last two fights. He didn’t only suffer two-consecutive losses, but his performances extremely disappointed MMA fans. UFC President Dana White believes Ngannou’s quick rise to prominence after beating Overeem played a major role in his career downfall.
“He had a pretty quick rise here, and obviously the fight over Alistair Overeem catapulted him, everybody was talking about him,” White said, via MMA Fighting. “I thought he was going to be the next guy. I think his ego ran away with him big-time. I can tell you that his ego absolutely did run away with him. And the minute that happens to you in the fight game, you see what happens. You start to fall apart. I had some personal encounters with him, as did other people in the organization, and this guy’s ego just was so out of control.”
After knocking out Alistair Overeem, Francis Ngannou was given the opportunity to challenge then-UFC champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 for the heavyweight title. Instead of making preparations for the fight, UFC President Dana White revealed that Ngannou went to France, showing how confident he was in taking the belt away from Miocic. As expected from a fighter who headed into a title fight without training, Ngannou lost the fight via unanimous decision.
The UFC gave Ngannou another chance to rise to the top of the heavyweight ranking, making the fight between him and Derrick Lewis the co-main event of UFC 226. Ngannou once again lost via unanimous decision, and longtime color commentator called the match the worst heavyweight fight he had ever seen. Lewis has some excuse for his poor performance at UFC 226.
The 33-year-old fighter reportedly headed into the fight dealing with back issues. Still, Lewis managed to dominate Ngannou, throwing 22 strikes over the latter’s 11. After his last two embarrassing fights, it remains unknown what the UFC’s plan is for Ngannou. White’s recent statement is a strong message for Ngannou, and if he won’t change his attitude, it is highly likely that the UFC won’t give him another big fight.