Francis Ngannou is undoubtedly the scariest fighter in the world of combat sports; his knockout power got his name to the biggest stage of the modern fight world. And Ngannou's work ethic is solidifying his legacy as the baddest fighter on the planet! We have seen heavyweight fighters wear this crown before, then we see the matchups get more challenging, the losses start to accumulate, and the mystic fades. While that is the story that gets written for most heavyweights, Ngannou seems different.
Stipe Miocic, Brock Lesner, and Cain Velazques. Their skillsets were practically 85% fully developed; they had set-ups, combos, takedowns, and grappling. They all were able to grow their techniques incrementally, but their opponents did not egregiously fear the knockout power.
Francis Ngannou his game is evolving in front of our eyes. Ngannou has (3) losses in his career, all by decision. Only two of those losses are relevant: Stipe Miocic, where Francis threw heavy punches early and had poor grappling against a well-rounded fighter. And, his loss to Derrick Lewis in a three-round fight where Ngannou was patient, hesitant (maybe) but outclassed in the striking department.
Not all losses are created equal.
Although Francis lost those fights, he was still a novice in MMA, not well-rounded enough to be crowned the heavyweight champion. What's the saying defense wins championships? After Ngannou and his team slightly improved his fundamentals in takedown defense and his overall grappling ability, we saw the byproduct of his hard work. In his rematch for the Heavyweight Championship against Stipe Micoic, Francis Ngannou closed out a scheduled 5 round fight early as he won by knockout in round 2.
Going into UFC 270 and the heavyweight championship on the line against Ciryl Gane, a dynamic kickboxer, undefeated in MMA. I don't see any bad outcome for Francis Ngannou. Suppose Ngannou wins by knockout or loses by decision. In front of millions of fans watching worldwide, the result either way only makes him more dynamic as a fighter. Ngannou is literally learning on the job with fans, co-workers, and bloggers micro-managing his performance, and he's excelling at it. He is grooming the fundamentals of grappling, kickboxing, etc., with the naturally formed ability to knock someone unconscious at any given moment with either hand.
This fight is the final fight on Ngannou's UFC contract. Francis has made it known he wants to take his talents to the world of boxing. It's up to Him and the UFC to see how that story plays out after UFC 270.