Since joining the UFC in 2010, former UFC heavyweight title contender Francis Ngannou made everyone in the world of mixed martial arts recognize his power. Ngannou went on a rampage and won six consecutive fights that included five knockouts and one submission. His impressive victory against Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 gave him the opportunity to challenge then-UFC champion Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title.
Unfortunately, Francis Ngannou’s UFC 220 fight against Stipe Miocic, where he lost via unanimous decision, marked the start of the downfall of his career. When he once again tried to climb at the top of the UFC heavyweight division, Ngannou fell into the hands of an injured Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 which was considered as one of the worst heavyweight fights in MMA history.
Ngannou’s first-round knock out against Alistair Overeem made UFC President Dana White believe that he was set to become the UFC heavyweight champion. However, during his preparation in his fight against Stipe Miocic, White already realized that Ngannou is not yet to ready for such responsibility. White went as far as saying that Ngannou has “lost his mind.”
“Francis Ngannou at the time he was coming up, I believed this guy was going to be the guy, was going to be the heavyweight champion,” White said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast (h/t MMAjunkie). “He lost his mind. This guy completely lost his mind and started to act – I don’t know – in a way you just don’t act. I completely saw it coming. Obviously, Francis Ngannou is a massive, strong, hard-hitting guy, and anything can happen when he gets in there, but Stipe had this thing where he feels completely disrespected.”
Dana White believes Francis Ngannou’s mindset and work ethic have changed when he defeated Alistair Overeem. Before his title fight with Stipe Miocic, Ngannou went to France instead of spending his time on his training center in Las Vegas. White said it was a way of showing how confident Ngannou was in taking away the title from Miocic. As expected from a fighter who didn’t focus on preparing for his next fight, Ngannou lost the opportunity to become the new UFC heavyweight champion.
As of now, White doesn’t have an idea if Ngannou will ever get back on track again. If he is serious about ruling the UFC heavyweight division, White believes Ngannou has a lot of things to fix personally and professionally. If he doesn’t change, it is highly likely that Ngannou won’t be given the chance to fight for the title once again.