Francis Ngannou

Francis Zavier Ngannou[1] (born 5 September 1986) is a Cameroonian mixed martial artist. He currently competes in the heavyweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion. He is known for being the hardest recorded puncher in history.[8] As of June 14, 2021, he is #5 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.[9]

Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou photo.jpg
Ngannou in 2017
BornFrancis Zavier Ngannou[1]
(1986-09-05) 5 September 1986 (age 34)
Batié, Cameroon
Other namesThe Predator
ResidenceLas Vegas, Nevada, US
Height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight263 lb (119 kg; 18 st 11 lb)
Reach83 in (211 cm)[2]
Fighting out ofParis, France[4]
TeamUFC Performance Institute[5]
Xtreme Couture
MMA Factory (formerly)
TrainerEric Nicksick (Head coach)[6]
Dewey Cooper (Striking coach)[7]
Fernand Lopez (formerly)
Years active2013–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By submission4
By decision3
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Early life and educationEdit

Ngannou was born and raised in the village of Batié, Cameroon.[10] He lived in poverty and had little formal education growing up.[11] 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.[12][13] As a youngster, he was approached by several gangs in his village to join them.[14] 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.[14]

At the age of 22, Ngannou began training in boxing, despite the initial reluctance of his family.[14] After training for a year, Ngannou stopped training due to an illness.[15] He did various odd jobs to make ends meet, until at the age of 26, he decided to head to Paris, France, to pursue professional boxing.[16] However upon reaching Europe, he was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border.[17] After Ngannou reached Paris, he had no money, no friends, and no place to live.[11] After living homeless on the streets of Paris, he was introduced by a friend to Fernand Lopez and the MMA factory.[18] 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.[16] 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.[16]

Reflecting on his journey across continents and his decision to become an MMA fighter, Ngannou said:[11][16]

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.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

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.[19] He compiled a record of 5–1 before signing with the UFC.[20]

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

Ngannou made his UFC debut against fellow newcomer Luis Henrique on 19 December 2015 at UFC on Fox 17.[21] He won the fight via knockout in the second round.[22]

Ngannou next faced UFC newcomer Curtis Blaydes on 10 April 2016, at UFC Fight Night 86.[23] He won the fight via TKO, due to doctors stoppage, at the conclusion of the second round.[24]

In his next bout, Ngannou faced another newcomer in Bojan Mihajlović on 23 July 2016, at UFC on Fox 20.[25] He won the fight via TKO in the first round.[26] Ngannou then faced Anthony Hamilton on 9 December 2016, at UFC Fight Night 102.[27] He won the fight by submission in the first round, and earned his first UFC Performance of the Night bonus.[28][29]

Ngannou faced former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski on 28 January 2017, at UFC on Fox 23.[30] He won the fight via TKO in the first round. The win also earned Ngannou his second Performance of the Night bonus.[31]

Ngannou was expected to face Junior dos Santos on 9 September 2017 at UFC 215.[32] However, on 18 August, Dos Santos was pulled from the match after being notified of a potential USADA violation.[33] In turn, Ngannou was removed from the card after promotion officials deemed that a suitable opponent could not be arranged.[34][35]

In the highest profile fight of his career, Ngannou faced veteran Alistair Overeem on 2 December 2017 at UFC 218.[36] He won the fight via knockout in the first round.[37] This knockout has been labeled as one of the greatest and most brutal knockouts of all time.[38][39][40]

Ngannou met Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight title on 20 January 2018 at UFC 220.[41] He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[42]

Ngannou faced Derrick Lewis on 7 July 2018 at UFC 226.[43] 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[44][45][46][47] and was labeled as a "snoozefest".[48]

Ngannou faced Curtis Blaydes in a rematch on 24 November 2018 in the main event at UFC Fight Night 141[49] He won the fight via TKO early into the first round.[50] The win also earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.[51]

Ngannou headlined UFC's inaugural event on ESPN, UFC on ESPN 1 against another former UFC champion in Cain Velasquez on 17 February 2019.[52] He won the fight via knockout in the first round.[53]

Ngannou faced second-straight former UFC champion Junior dos Santos on 29 June 2019 at UFC on ESPN 3.[54] He won the fight via technical knockout in the first round.[55] This fight earned him the Performance of the Night award.[56]

Ngannou was scheduled to face Jairzinho Rozenstruik on 28 March 2020 at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik.[57] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was eventually postponed .[58] The pair was rescheduled to meet at 18 April 2020 at UFC 249.[59] However, on 9 April, Dana White, the president of UFC announced that this event was postponed[60] and the bout eventually took place on 9 May 2020.[61] Ngannou won via knockout just 20 seconds into the first round.[62] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[63]

UFC Heavyweight ChampionshipEdit

Miocic vs. Ngannou IIEdit

A rematch for the UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Miocic and Ngannou was scheduled on 27 March 2021 at UFC 260.[64] Ngannou won the fight via knockout in round two.[65] This win earned him the Performance of the Night award.[66]

Personal lifeEdit

Ngannou is multilingual. He speaks several languages including Ngemba, French, and English.[13][67][68] He learned English after joining the UFC.[69]


The Francis Ngannou Foundation runs the first MMA gym in Cameroon, aiming to offer facilities for young people to have a place to train and feel like someone cares about them.[70][71]



Year Title Role Notes
2021 F9 [72] Ferocious Professional Cameo
2021 Jackass Forever [73] Himself Cameo

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
19 matches 16 wins 3 losses
By knockout 12 0
By submission 4 0
By decision 0 3
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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
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. Cerrone 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 1 5:00 Paris, France
Win 1–0 Rachid Benzina Submission (armbar) 100% Fight: Contenders 20 30 November 2013 1 1:44 Paris, France


See alsoEdit



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External linksEdit

Preceded by
Stipe Miocic
21st UFC Heavyweight Champion
27 March 2021 – present