After Francis Ngannou came up short against Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 in what proved to be a rather lackluster affair (recap here), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White blamed “The Predator’s” out of control ego as the root of his tepid performance.
Appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Francis explained the real reason behind his terrible outing against “Black Beast” and his ego issues.
“In the cage, for that fight, I was just thinking about my body, scared about what happened the last time (against Stipe Miocic). It might happen again, and if that happened it’s no good,” said Francis. “So I tried to control it.”
In his title fight against former 265-pound champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220, “The Predator” was visibly gassed for the championship rounds, which allowed Stipe to have his way with him on the ground and smother him en route to a unanimous decision win.
That said, Ngannou says his training camp leading up to his showdown against Lewis was good with no issues, but the mental block was too much to overcome. As far as White’s claim that his ego got the best of him, Francis didn’t agree.
“I don’t know what he means by that and I don’t know which people he is talking about. I think that is something you need to ask him. Only he can give you that answer. He never told me nothing,” revealed Ngannou. “Since my fight against Stipe I haven't seen him, so I don’t know why he say that because he never told me nothing like that,” he added.
According to Ngannou, he’s never had any personal issues with White, which makes his claims even more baffling. Nevertheless, while, “The Predator” doesn’t agree with his ego having anything to do with his loss, the hard-hitting big man does acknowledge he has one, but not in the way White thinks.
“I will agree I have an ego. You have to have that ego as a fighter because that is when you think you are better than the other one. You sit there and believe that, that is the ego,” explained Francis. “But not an ego to hurt anyone around you. Yes I have an ego, I know that. But not to hurt people.”
As far as his return to action, “The Predator” says he hopes to return to before the year is over and vows to get over his mental block and not let what people thought about his previous performance affect him moving forward.
As for who he’d like to face next, he isn’t opposed to a showdown against Junior dos Santos, who got back into the win column last Saturday night (July 7, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 133. The two men were set to tango last year at UFC 215 before “Cigano” was yanked from the card by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Are you interested in this potential showdown?