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African-born Francis Ngannou has already been to hell and back, so don’t talk to him about ‘fighter mentality’

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title contender, Francis Ngannou, was heavily marketed by the promotion while “The Predator” was knocking out every fighter the matchmakers put in front of him.

Then it all came crashing down against a more well-rounded combatant in the form of Stipe Miocic, followed by a lame-duck performance opposite Derrick Lewis.

Because this is combat sports, which is no different than any other sport, the Cameroonian started hemorrhaging fans while UFC President, Dana White, buried him in the mixed martial arts (MMA) media, claiming Ngannou “completely lost his mind.”

Maybe the power-punching heavyweight doesn’t have a fighter’s mentality?

“Mentality is what brought me here,” Ngannou told the MMA media. “If I did not have that mentality, I could not have gone through what I went through. I was born and raised in Africa in a very poor family but I just have this mentality that I can’t give up. I’ve been through hell to be here today, so it’s all about fighting mentality. I have the ability to overcome that because I’ve been through worse than that, believe me when I say that.”

He’s fighting not only for himself, but also for the dreams of an entire country.

Ngannou was able to right the ship with a dominant performance against Curtis Blaydes at UFC Beijing back in November. No question a win over Cain Velasquez, long considered one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, would launch “The Predator” right back into title contention.

We’ll find out this Sunday night in Phoenix.