Stipe Miocic versus Francis Ngannou is a can’t-miss fight

Justin Faux Columnist

By Justin Faux, Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    If there was any doubt about the claim that monster-truck-sized heavyweight Francis Ngannou was the UFC’s scariest man, it was put to rest on Sunday.

    In the co-main event of UFC 218 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, the marble-cut Cameroonian-Frenchman landed a left-hook on the exposed jaw of Alistair Overeem that almost separated head from shoulders.

    Overeem was out before he hit the mat.

    The six-foot-four, 262-pound behemoth finished the job anyway, clubbing the already stiff fighter with a hammer fist before referee Dan Mirgliotta halted the fight.

    With Overeem’s name added to his growing list of victims, Ngannou has made a strong case for a crack at the UFC heavyweight title, currently held by Croatian-American hitter Stipe Miocic.

    “I feel very good,” Ngannou said after the win. “Very good. Dana White said the winner of this fight will get a title shot, so I think I got it.”

    Making Ngannou’s fast and furious rise to the top of the heavyweight ranks even more impressive is that he had no athletic background when he began training just four years ago. None at all.

    The 31-year-old super prospect grew up idolising fellow knockout puncher Mike Tyson but didn’t get the chance to replicate his childhood hero’s success from his village in Cameroon.

    Ngannou didn’t even enter a gym and strap on a pair of gloves until he was 27.

    Mature-aged recruit or not, Ngannou became a must-watch fighter in short order, joining the UFC after just two years fighting in the minor leagues.

    Since becoming a top recruit to the world’s most talent-stacked heavyweight division, Ngannou has punched and kicked his way to the top of the contender’s list after just six bouts.

    He nearly ripped Anthony Hamilton’s arm from its socket. He knocked Andrei Arlovski loopy. And Sunday he collected his most impressive scalp yet.

    Overeem, a veteran of 60 MMA bouts, has fought a murderer’s row of top talent in his 18-year career. None of them handled him like Ngannou did.

    Not even the heavyweight champion of the world.

    Miocic, a Croatian-American firefighter, captured the UFC crown in 2016 and has since defended his position on the throne twice – tying the record for most heavyweight title defenses in company history.

    When the 35-year-old fights for his place in history in 2018, the gargantuan from Cameroon will likely be standing on the opposite side of the cage, an outcome that won’t make the champ sweat.

    The challenge for Miocic is one of the biggest he has ever encountered. Not only is Ngannou a ridiculous athlete with natural finishing power but he is still only a few years into his development and getting better with every session.

    Can Miocic slay the dragon? I don’t know. But I would pay top dollar to find out.

    Justin Faux
    Justin Faux

    Justin Faux is a seasoned combat sports scribe. Covering mixed martial arts and boxing since 2007, Justin has been published on NineMSN Australia, Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and dozens of other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @justinfauxmma.

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • December 4th 2017 @ 10:28am
      Gavin R said | December 4th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Ngannou has the potential to be the next big box office hit. His story is incredible. What a monster they’ve uncovered. It’ll be a huge fight!

      • Columnist

        December 4th 2017 @ 4:57pm
        Justin Faux said | December 4th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

        Francis Ngannou just has a magnetism to him. I watched the card with some casual fans on Sunday and as soon as Ngannou was shown on the screen they were hooked.

        Max Holloway is probably 100x the fighter he is, but he didn’t even make them look up from their phones once.

    • Roar Guru

      December 4th 2017 @ 11:23am
      BigJ said | December 4th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      from what I saw yesterday, that Ngannou fella will be the new heavyweight champ and I don’t see him getting beat anytime soon. Not even a fully fit Lesnar would beat him in my opinion.

      • Columnist

        December 4th 2017 @ 5:00pm
        Justin Faux said | December 4th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

        I’m not willing to declare him the uncrowned champion yet, but I’d bet he holds UFC gold before he hangs up his gloves, though.

    • December 4th 2017 @ 3:54pm
      Alex L said | December 4th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

      Two strikers with average chins and beyond that a bunch of nobodies on his record, interesting to see how Ngannou goes if he has to wrestle for long enough to start tiring a bit.

      • Columnist

        December 4th 2017 @ 5:03pm
        Justin Faux said | December 4th 2017 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

        It’s no secret that Sean Shelby has hand-chosen Victims for Ngannou so far and it’s also no secret that he has several areas of his game that we haven’t seen tested yet.

        The good news though is that we will probably find out just how good he really is if he does indeed fight Stipe Miocic in 2018.

        • December 4th 2017 @ 6:27pm
          Gavin R said | December 4th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

          Theres no bigger test than Stipe. He’s strong, quick and athletic but Ngannou could well be an immovable force. For a 260 pound bloke, he is in incredible shape compared to many heavy weights of the past. Inexperience could get the better of him but i agree he is a future champ.

    • December 8th 2017 @ 2:18am
      Rodney O'Reilly said | December 8th 2017 @ 2:18am | ! Report

      January 20th in Boston.By the way,UFC have Ngannou down at 250 lb -has he trimmed down recently? and 6’4″, Miocic at 240lb, and 6’3″.

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