Legends of the Octagon: Francis Ngannou

Feb 26, 2024

Born in 1986, Francis Ngannou grew up impoverished in Cameroon.  At the age of ten, he began working in the sand mines. He did this type of work until he was 17. In search for a better quality of life, Ngannou moved to France at 26, with dreams of becoming a professional boxer.

While in France, Ngannou met coach Didier Carmont.  Due to the potential that Carmont had anticipated, he allowed Francis to train at no cost in his gym. While training in boxing, he was introduced to MMA coach Fernand Lopez; thus beginning a career in MMA.

Going back to his roots in Cameroon, Francis opened the first MMA gym in the country.  He is definitely a role model and mentor to many, especially within his native country. Impressively, along his UFC journey, Ngannou accumulated a record of 12 wins and 2 losses and succesfully defended the world heavyweight title.  Francis is one of the hardest hitters in the history of the sport, with Dana White once famously comparing his punching power to being hit by a Ford Escort.

Eventually, in 2023, Ngannou achieved his desire to be a boxer, when he fought against Tyson Fury. Francis had an amazing trainer for this fight – the former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson. Francis lost to Fury by split decision.  However, it was seen as a victory due to the extremely close outcome of the fight.  Many people believe that Francis Ngannou actually won the Fight in Saudi Arabia. This fight was legendary because it was the first major international boxing fight in Saudi.

Ngannou’s performance against Fury made him a legitimate threat in boxing, and he will face England’s Anthony Joshua in the ring next. The fight will take place on March 8th 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he already has his next MMA fight lined up against PFL champion Renan Ferreira at some point in near future. Renan is an upcoming heavyweight, who knocked out Bellator champion Ryan Bader. Bellator has recently merged with PFL. In a card featuring matchups between the two organizations’ champions, Ferreira was the only PFL representative to achieve success.

Despite having a difficult journey in life, Francis Ngannou achieved his goals and dreams.  He continues to be one of the most feared heavyweights in the combat sports of MMA and boxing. Despite his success, he remains humble and true to his roots, establishing a charity to increase education and reduce poverty in Cameroon.

“In Cameroon, kids have many problems. They think everything is lost before they are born. It seems like they are not allowed to dream. They are not allowed to be ambitious. They just accept being the victim of their life.” – Francis Ngannou

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