Now that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title contender, Francis Ngannou, has laid waste to a pair of former 265-pound champions in the form of Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, excited mixed martial arts (MMA) fan boys may have forgotten about the problems “The Predator” had against Stipe Miocic in their UFC 220 title fight.
That’s according to reigning division kingpin, Daniel Cormier.
In fact, “DC” doesn’t sound too worried about the prospect of fighting Ngannou should he once again thump Miocic when they collide at UFC 241 this August in Anaheim. Because powerful punches are pretty worthless if you're flat on your back.
“I like Francis, he’s very respectful, but I think everybody now has to take a step back because nothing has changed,” Cormier told Aaron Bronsteter. “This is the same thing that we saw prior to his title fight. Just remember that. You guys have to slow down. You get excited and you fall in love with these knockouts but nothing has changed. He did that to Overeem to earn a title fight. He knocked out all those guys prior. Nothing has changed. So as much as I respect him, it’s not a fight that I would have much hesitation in taking.”
Ngannou (14-3) had never seen a third round in his MMA career before throwing hands with Miocic. That night, “The Predator” had to go all five, something that appeared to exhaust the Cameroonian after the knockout punch failed to find its mark. And judging by his current physique, Cormier is not sure what would be different a second time around.
“Everybody loves the physical guy, the big, strong, bulging muscles, but at the end of the day, oxygen has to pass through that and when you start to wear at that, those guys get tired,” Cormier said. “I think Francis would have to have made some wholesale changes to change everything and I’m not exactly sure what we’ve seen recently to prove that anything has changed.”
Regardless if Cormier wins or loses at UFC 241, he’s likely to retire from combat sports and transition to full-time coach. Unless, of course, longtime rival Jon Jones makes his way up to heavyweight, or UFC makes him another offer he can’t refuse.
Time will tell.