Francis Ngannou

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Francis Ngannou
Ngannou in 2017
BornFrancis Zavier Ngannou
(1986-09-05) 5 September 1986 (age 37)
Batié, Cameroon
NicknameThe Predator
ResidenceLas Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight257 lb (117 kg; 18 st 5 lb)
Reach83 in (211 cm)[3]
Fighting out ofLas Vegas, Nevada, U.S.[5]
TeamMMA Factory (2013–2018)[6][7]
UFC Performance Institute[8]
Xtreme Couture (2018–present)[7]
TrainerEric Nicksick (Head coach)[9]
Dewey Cooper (Striking coach)[10]
Fernand Lopez (formerly)
Years active2013–present
Professional boxing record
Kickboxing record
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By submission4
By decision1
By decision3
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Francis Zavier Ngannou[11][12] (born 5 September 1986)[13] is a Cameroonian professional mixed martial artist and professional boxer who is currently signed to the Professional Fighters League (PFL).[14] He also competed in the Heavyweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he was the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion at the time of his departure from the promotion. Known for his punching power, Ngannou was widely viewed as the most destructive pure puncher in the UFC’s heavyweight division. In 2017, he set the world record for the hardest punch ever recorded at 129,161 units.[15][16][17]

Early life and education

Ngannou was born and raised in the village of Batié, Cameroon.[18] He lived in poverty and had little formal education growing up.[19] Ngannou's parents divorced when he was six years old, and he was sent to live with his aunt. At 10 years old, Ngannou started working in a sand quarry in Batié because of a lack of funds.[20][21] As a youngster, he was approached by several gangs in his village to join them.[22] However, Ngannou refused and instead decided to use his father's negative reputation as a street fighter as motivation to do something positive and pursue boxing.[22]

At age 22, Ngannou began training in boxing, despite the initial reluctance of his family.[22] After training for a year, Ngannou stopped training due to an illness.[23] He did various odd jobs to make ends meet, until age 26 when he decided to head to Paris, France, to pursue professional boxing.[24] However upon reaching Europe, he was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border.[25] After he reached Paris, he had no money, no friends, and no place to live.[19] After living homeless on the streets of Paris, Ngannou found his way to a boxing club where he met coach Didier Carmont (cousin of Francis Carmont) who was understanding towards his situation. Carmont convinced the gym to let him train at no cost, and introduced Ngannou to the sport of MMA. Additionally, Ngannou became a volunteer at Lo Chorba, a non-profit organization in Paris.[26] When his boxing gym closed for the summer, Lo Chorba's director Khater Yenbou introduced Ngannou to Fernand Lopez and the MMA factory.[27] Being a fan of Mike Tyson, Ngannou was originally interested in learning how to box but Lopez saw his potential in MMA and convinced him to try MMA instead.[24] Lopez gave Ngannou some MMA gear and allowed him to train and sleep at the gym for no cost thus starting Ngannou's MMA career.[24]

Reflecting on his journey across continents and his decision to become an MMA fighter, Ngannou said:[19][24]

When I started, I had nothing. Nothing. I needed everything. But when you start [to earn money], you starting collecting things: I want this, I want this, I want that. The purpose is not collecting things, though. The purpose is to do something great. Finish the dream you started.

I want to help my family, first, of course, but then I want to give opportunity to children in my country like me who have a dream to become a doctor or something. If I reach my dream, it will give me the opportunity to help those in my country who have their own dreams and nothing else to fulfill them.

I want to give some opportunity for children like me who dream of this sport and don't have an opportunity like me. The last time I was in Cameroon, I brought a lot of materials for boxing and MMA to open a gym. Now I just bought a big space to start the gym, as well.

A lot of children now in Cameroon, because of me, they have a dream. They say, 'I will be a champion in MMA. I will do boxing like Francis,' because they saw me when I was young. I didn't have anything. I didn't have any opportunity. And today, they see me, and they are dreaming. They are thinking that something is possible. Even when they are so poor, something is possible in life. … It's not easy. It's so hard, but it's possible.

Professional mixed martial arts career

Early career

Ngannou started his MMA career in November 2013 and fought mostly in the French promotion 100% Fight, as well as other regional promotions in Europe.[28] He compiled a record of 5–1 before signing with the UFC.[29]

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Ngannou made his UFC debut against fellow newcomer Luis Henrique on 19 December 2015, at UFC on Fox 17.[30] He won the fight via knockout in the second round.[31]

Ngannou next faced UFC newcomer Curtis Blaydes on 10 April 2016, at UFC Fight Night 86.[32] He won the fight via TKO, due to doctor stoppage at the end of the second round.[33]

In his next bout, Ngannou faced another newcomer in Bojan Mihajlović on 23 July 2016, at UFC on Fox 20.[34] He won the fight via TKO in the first round.[35] Ngannou then faced Anthony Hamilton on 9 December 2016, at UFC Fight Night 102.[36] He won the fight by submission in the first round, and earned his first UFC Performance of the Night bonus.[37][38]

Ngannou faced Andrei Arlovski on 28 January 2017, at UFC on Fox 23.[39] He won the fight via TKO in the first round. The win also earned Ngannou his second Performance of the Night bonus.[40]

Ngannou was expected to face Junior dos Santos on 9 September 2017, at UFC 215.[41] However, on 18 August, Dos Santos was pulled from the match after being notified of a potential USADA violation.[42] In turn, Ngannou was removed from the card after promotion officials deemed that a suitable opponent could not be arranged.[43][44]

In the highest profile fight of his career, Ngannou faced veteran Alistair Overeem on 2 December 2017, at UFC 218.[45] He won the fight via knockout in the first round.[46] This knockout has been labeled as one of the greatest and most brutal knockouts of all time.[47][48][49] Following the bout, Ngannou signed a new, eight-fight contract with the UFC.[50]

Ngannou faced Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight Championship on 20 January 2018, at UFC 220.[51] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[52]

Ngannou faced Derrick Lewis on 7 July 2018, at UFC 226.[53] He lost the fight via unanimous decision. The fight was heavily criticized by the media and the fans for the lack of offence from both competitors[54][55][56][57] and was labeled as a "snoozefest".[58]

Ngannou faced Curtis Blaydes in a rematch on 24 November 2018, in the main event at UFC Fight Night 141[59] He won the fight via TKO early into the first round.[60] The win also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.[61]

Ngannou headlined the UFC's inaugural event on ESPN, UFC on ESPN 1 against Cain Velasquez on 17 February 2019.[62] He won via knockout in the first round.[63]

Ngannou faced Junior dos Santos on 29 June 2019, at UFC on ESPN 3.[64] He won the fight via technical knockout in the first round.[65] This fight earned him the Performance of the Night award.[66]

Ngannou was scheduled to face Jairzinho Rozenstruik on 28 March 2020, at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik.[67] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed .[68] The pair was rescheduled to meet at 18 April 2020, at UFC 249.[69] However, on 9 April, Dana White, the president of the UFC announced that the event was postponed[70] and the bout eventually took place on 9 May 2020.[71] Ngannou won via knockout just 20 seconds into the first round.[72] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[73]

UFC Heavyweight Champion

Miocic vs. Ngannou II

A rematch of the bout between Miocic and Ngannou for the UFC Heavyweight Championship took place on 27 March 2021, at UFC 260.[74] Ngannou won via knockout in the second round.[75] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[76]

Ngannou vs. Gane

Ngannou faced the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane for his first title defense on 22 January 2022, at UFC 270.[77] He injured knee ligaments three and a half weeks before the fight.[78] Ngannou won the fight by unanimous decision, the first decision win of his career.[79]


On January 14, 2023, the UFC Heavyweight Championship was stripped from Ngannou after he and the UFC could not come to terms on a new contract. Ngannou's contract expired in mid-December, and after the two parties couldn't reach an agreement, the UFC waived its one-year matching rights clause, making Ngannou an unrestricted free agent.[80] In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Ngannou stated that he had requested health insurance, the ability to have sponsorships for all UFC fighters, and to have a fighter advocate present during all fighter contract negotiations. When his requests were denied, Ngannou chose not to re-sign with the UFC,[81] making him the first reigning champion to leave the UFC since B.J. Penn in 2004.[82]

Since Ngannou's departure from the UFC, Ngannou has openly admitted to wanting to start a boxing career and is currently targeting boxing matches with both Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.[83]

Professional Fighters League

On May 16, 2023, it was announced that Ngannou had signed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL).[84][85] He will be competing in their pay-per-view "super fight" division, while still being free to compete in other sports such as boxing.[86] Ngannou also negotiated on behalf of his opponents, guaranteeing them to be paid at least $2 million.[87][88] He will also be a part of PFL's global advisory board, meant to advocate for fighters' interests, and an equity owner and chairman of the upcoming PFL Africa league.[88][89] Ngannou's PFL contract has been called a historic moment for the sport,[90] with Daniel Cormier saying it sets "a new standard for what is out there in the [MMA] free-agent market."[91] John S. Nash of Bloody Elbow and Alex Pattle of The Independent each referred to a different aspect of the deal as "unprecedented".[86][87]

Professional boxing career

Ngannou vs. Fury

Ngannou took on the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a professional boxing match billed as "Battle of the Baddest" on October 28, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.[92] Ngannou was able to knock down Fury in the third round, taking the fight all the way to the scorecards, in which the judges awarded Fury the victory in a controversial split decision (95–94, 96–93, 94–95).[93][94] According to CompuBox, Fury outlanded Ngannou 71 to 59 in total punches, while Ngannou outlanded Fury 37 to 32 in power punches.[95][96]

After his fight with Fury, Ngannou was ranked #10 by the WBC.[97]

Personal life

Ngannou speaks several languages including Ngemba, French, and English.[21][98][99] He learned English after joining the UFC.[100]


The Francis Ngannou Foundation runs the first MMA gym in Cameroon, aiming to offer facilities for young people to have a place to train.[101][102]



Year Title Role Notes
2021 F9 [103] Ferocious Professional Cameo
2022 Jackass Forever [104] Himself Guest appearance

Championships and accomplishments

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
20 matches 17 wins 3 losses
By knockout 12 0
By submission 4 0
By decision 1 3
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 17–3 Ciryl Gane Decision (unanimous) UFC 270 22 January 2022 5 5:00 Anaheim, California, United States Defended and unified the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Title later vacated when Ngannou's contract expired.
Win 16–3 Stipe Miocic KO (punch) UFC 260 27 March 2021 2 0:52 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Performance of the Night.
Win 15–3 Jairzinho Rozenstruik KO (punches) UFC 249 9 May 2020 1 0:20 Jacksonville, Florida, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 14–3 Junior dos Santos TKO (punches) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. dos Santos 29 June 2019 1 1:11 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 13–3 Cain Velasquez KO (punches) UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez 17 February 2019 1 0:26 Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Win 12–3 Curtis Blaydes TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Ngannou 2 24 November 2018 1 0:45 Beijing, China Performance of the Night.
Loss 11–3 Derrick Lewis Decision (unanimous) UFC 226 7 July 2018 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 11–2 Stipe Miocic Decision (unanimous) UFC 220 20 January 2018 5 5:00 Boston, Massachusetts, United States For the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 11–1 Alistair Overeem KO (punch) UFC 218 2 December 2017 1 1:42 Detroit, Michigan, United States UFC heavyweight title eliminator.
Win 10–1 Andrei Arlovski TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Shevchenko vs. Peña 28 January 2017 1 1:32 Denver, Colorado, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 9–1 Anthony Hamilton Submission (kimura) UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Abdurakhimov 9 December 2016 1 1:57 Albany, New York, United States Performance of the Night.
Win 8–1 Bojan Mihajlović TKO (punches) UFC on Fox: Holm vs. Shevchenko 23 July 2016 1 1:34 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 7–1 Curtis Blaydes TKO (doctor stoppage) UFC Fight Night: Rothwell vs. dos Santos 10 April 2016 2 5:00 Zagreb, Croatia
Win 6–1 Luis Henrique KO (punch) UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2 19 December 2015 2 2:53 Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 5–1 William Baldutti TKO (punches) KHK MMA National Tryouts: Finale 2015 28 May 2015 2 1:22 Madinat Isa, Bahrain
Win 4–1 Luc Ngeleka Submission (guillotine choke) SHC 10: Carvalho vs. Belo 20 September 2014 1 0:44 Geneva, Switzerland
Win 3–1 Nicolas Specq Submission (arm-triangle choke) 100% Fight 20: Comeback 5 April 2014 1 2:10 Levallois, France
Win 2–1 Bilal Tahtahi KO (punch) 1 3:58
Loss 1–1 Zoumana Cisse Decision (unanimous) 100% Fight: Contenders 21 14 December 2013 2 5:00 Paris, France
Win 1–0 Rachid Benzina Submission (armbar) 100% Fight: Contenders 20 30 November 2013 1 1:44 Paris, France Heavyweight debut.


Professional boxing record

1 fight 0 wins 1 loss
By decision 0 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
1 Loss 0–1 Tyson Fury SD 10 28 Oct 2023 Kingdom Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Kickboxing record

Kickboxing record
1 Win, 0 Losses
Date Result Opponent Event Location Method Round Time Record
2015-06-19 Win Farid Nair Carcharias Perpignan, France Decision 3 3:00 1–0
Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest   Notes


Pay-per-view bouts


No. Event Fight Date Venue City PPV Buys
1. UFC 220 Miocic vs. Ngannou January 20, 2018 TD Garden Boston, Massachusetts United States 350,000[119]
2. UFC 260 Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 March 27, 2021 UFC Apex Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 500,000 [120]
3. UFC 270 Ngannou vs. Gane January 22, 2022 Honda Center Anaheim, California, United States 300,000[121]


No. Date Fight Billing Buys Network Revenue
1 October 28, 2023 Fury vs. Ngannou Battle of the Baddest TBA DAZN / ESPN+ TBA

See also


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External links

Preceded by 22nd UFC Heavyweight Champion
27 March 2021 – 14 January 2023
Title next held by
Jon Jones