Losing is a part of life. Some of us lose less than others. For the UFC’s surging Francis Ngannou back in 2018, defeat was something he was not really accustomed to. He would take his first UFC loss against the reigning champ, Stipe Miocic. The Octagon was the classroom where Ngannou learned some lessons in the process.
Ngannou who was nearly undefeated at the time at 11-1, hadn’t taken a loss since 2013. For reference, his only loss prior was in his second professional fight, against Zoumana Cisse.
Losing in his first title opportunity played a pivotal role in Ngannou’s career. ‘The Predator’ felt like he was the prey. The night of UFC 220 would be filled with disappointment and the flight back to his home country Cameroon would also be emotional for the title challenger.
Three years later, Ngannou looks back on the loss and sets his eyes on the future, writing a redemption story when he rematches Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 next weekend.
Mourning The Loss
Ngannou dived into detail about the aftermath of the first fight in his interview with BT Sport’s Adam Catterall.
“It was pretty hard.” Ngannou reflected. “I remember coming home and then feeling like everything has fallen apart. I remember sometime going to bed at night and didn’t want the sun to rise the next day. Like just thinking about like how can go back and fix it no way, you know, it was hard to deal with.”
A Hero’s Homecoming
The Cameroonian would return home after his fight with Miocic in Boston. Getting back to his roots Ngannou would be overcome with emotion among his return to Africa..
“Fortunately, I just traveled back to Cameroon after that. Then, when I get back home in Cameroon, this is what hurt me a lot, to deal with that situation. I had a hero’s welcome. My country, my people there was very happy, very proud, and there was like, Oh, you put us on the map. Nobody could have imagined that somebody from here could have done that.”
“They [were] all calling me like champ. I’m like, “I lost the fight though…” They’re like, ‘that doesn’t matter. The destination is always not what matter, but how you get there, and it’s been a good one.’
“Those kinds of things seek you enough to see things in the right way. You just realize, ‘Oh, I was here six years ago. I was nothing. I was nobody. Didn’t ever have a job, couldn’t even eat. Today I just am complaining because I lost for the world title. It would have been good if I win. So I kind of like started looking things in a different aspect, different anger. And it’s not just my fight, its for the whole entire country [Cameroon], for everyone.”
On being asked if he’s still being dream of boxing at some point, to which Francis Nagnnou said:
“Absolutley. I mean even though, I kind of like find in MMA almost, I mean it’s kind of so similar and the dream the biggest dream was to become a world champion, what I am about to become. So It’s not like I am far away, the apple is still under the tree.”
Ngannou also details having Kamaru Usman in his camp.
“Having some support like that basically for a guy who understand what it’s about, what the sport it’s. Who can also bring me his expertise as well on the wrestling side and emotional side. As a friend, as a brother, I think it’s all in one, it’s three in one.”
Francis said, his upcoming fight with Miocic will , “Hopefully end early and short.”
“I dont want to put that in my mind basically leading up to this fight. Because last time I went there and this was one of my biggest mistake that I did back there and I went there to knock him (Miocic) out which is something I never did eventhough almost all my fight has been knocked out but he (Stipe) always came by himself.”
Ngannou, having sought a new mindset, will look to seek out a new belt in his rubber match with Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.