The Republic of Cameroon in West Africa throws a population of about 25 million. And every time his native son Francis Ngannou steps into the Octagon, he serves as a beacon of hope for the country; a six-foot-four, 260-pound picture of the imagination when it comes to its hulking power in an oh-so-palpable personality pack they could feel.
Now, just imagine if “The Predator” knocks out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 on Saturday night to become the world heavyweight champion. Taking it a step further, the real idea of an overweight world champion Ngannou defending his newly won crown to be at the top of the UFC Africa card on the continent taking the 34-year-olds.
“That would mean a lot,” Ngannou begins telling DAZN News. “I think that would mean hope for the next generation to just see the UFC in Africa. Not just for Cameroonians but for all Africans, the UFC in Africa would mean putting them on the map and getting a consideration for them, giving them hope and opportunity. ”
If it weren’t for the global pandemic, Ngannou thinks the timing for Africa’s UFC card would be perfect, but they’d rather see it heading towards that in a range of levels. He has even identified the right pilot program for the UFC to gain its base in Africa.
“For now, my biggest vision at the moment is to at least bring the UFC to Africa, perhaps not the Contender Series Dana White still, but at least Dana White: Lookin ‘for a fight, ”Ngannou explains. “That can inspire Africans to at least know that they will be seen at some point and that they will be made aware and continue to work hard.”
White says he all wants to implement Ngannou ‘s view, noting that Africa as a fighting destination has been on the verge of reverting to a major issue. “The Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman in October 1974.
“I like the idea of going to Africa to fight,” White said in a statement sent to DAZN News. “Ever since fighting in Zaire as a child, it has been a dream of mine to fight for Africa.
“There has never been a better time than ever with COVID. When everything opens up again and everyone starts traveling again, I want to go to Africa. And I’d like Lookin to do a fight there. ”
Ngannou confirms that Africa is already a hot bed for mixed martial arts talent, even going so far as to say that the continent’s house fighters are far superior to himself, a welterweight champion UFC Kamaru Usman and Israeli midfielder Adesanya – both of whom are from Nigeria.
“I would say right now that Africa is the foundation for MMA talent,” Ngannou says. “They don’t have the opportunity like other people, but they have fertile talent. They have raw talent all day.
“Take a look at the UFC record. Less than 20 Africans. But by some chance, by March 28, we will have three African champions in the UFC, which is a very, very high representation in terms of the number of Africans in the UFC.
“Think of all those Africans getting a chance as well as others in competition. I think they’re just going to take over the sport, completely taking control of the sport. I know a lot of people out there are doing way better than us – meaning better than me, better than Usman, better than Adesanya – but they don’t get a chance to showcase their talent. ”
That makes Ngannou’s intention to bring the UFC to Africa more urgent. He will have Usman in his corner Saturday night in what has been hailed as the “Greatest Reception Baddest” against Miocic, who got a strong unanimous decision over Ngannou in their original meeting back in January. 2018.
After losing to Derrick Lewis in July of the same year, Ngannou has knocked out his tournament in the form of four first-round strikes against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Ngannou says he has learned a lot by watching videos of old Mike Tyson, especially the way the boxing legend shifted his body weight to take advantage of the lunch blows. in the ring. The benefits of that film screening were demonstrated in May last year, when the Cameroonian-French slugger missed lunging overhand left, right and left, before putting Rozenstruik to sleep with the kind of right that can separating the human soul from the senses. And he did so in a terrifying 20 seconds for the fastest knock ever. (Tyson had the fastest KO at 30 seconds).
Now, the ability to be at the top of Africa’s UFC card as an overweight champion is what is interesting for Ngannou. Not for his glory to return home, but for the opportunities he can open. And keep open.
“It can open up more hope and stand as an incentive for the fighters out there to dedicate more to become professional fighters and maybe do it in the UFC if that’s their dream,” Ngannou explains say. “If they have that opportunity, they are going to show it and show it to the world.
“I think Africa,” he said emphatically, “is the place. ”