Francis Ngannou has quickly climbed the ranks in the UFC’s heavyweight division thanks to his incredibly powerful hands.
This Saturday night at UFC 220, Ngannou gets his chance to take the belt from Stipe Miocic when the two square off in the main event.
Ngannou closed out his 2017 with a devastating uppercut that floored Alistair Overeem. Despite that bout taking place last month, Ngannou “had Stipe in the back of my mind” the entire time.
“It wasn’t difficult because that fight didn’t take a long time,” Ngannou said. “I knew that the fight against Alistair was probably going to give me the opportunity to fight Stipe in early 2018, so I tried to stay in shape.
“Even in training for Alistair, I tried to make it two training camps at the same time. I prepared myself for a three round fight and also a five round fight.”
He believes that by going through a simulated double-training camp, the fight with Overeem “was more difficult for me.”
“I had a lot of pressure with that fight because I couldn’t just think about Alistair,” he added. “I always thought about both guys so I had a lot of pressure. But now, I’m more relaxed.
The 31-year-old “Predator” from Cameroon now calls Las Vegas his home. He signed with the UFC in 2015 following a 5-1 record on the regional circuit, finishing Luis Henrique.
In 2016, Ngannou stopped Curtis Blaydes and Bojan Mihajlovic before securing a submission of Anthony Hamilton. Last year, he finished Andrei Arlovski – another former UFC champion – and Overeem, with each of his last four wins coming inside of the first round.
Much like Ngannou, Miocic has been on a tear in the division, stopping each of his last four opponents inside of the first round.
“That is pretty much how he wins his fights,” Ngannou said. “He just keeps knocking out people. But I don’t see a problem with the fight.
“I’m very confident. I have belief that I can do it and trust in myself and my skills.”