We’ve all seen the devastating knockout power that current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, possesses. But, the hard-hitting Frenchman can sleep the best of them even when he doesn’t mean to.
During a recent media day to promote his upcoming title unification bout against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 this Saturday (Jan. 22, 2022) in Anaheim, Calif., Ngannou revealed that he once accidentally knocked out “Bon Gamin” during sparring.
“Yes, I knocked him out [with] a left high kick,” Ngannou said via MMA Fighting. “There’s a lot of reasons why that footage didn’t come out. Well, let me say this, that knockout wasn’t a voluntary knockout. It wasn’t in sparring. It was an accident. I didn’t intend to knock him out. I didn’t go there to knock him out.”
Ngannou went on to say that he isn’t proud of the knockout and won’t brag about it because it wasn't intentional. Furthermore, Gane was a training partner at the time so he wasn’t seeking to hurt him.
“So personally, it’s not something that I would be proud of and feel tough because I knocked my sparring partner out or knocked him down or whatever. Usually, that stuff happens in training, but it’s always an accident. Because we are committed to take care of our partner. That’s how it works.”
As far as the whole “former friends and training partners” angle, Ngannou says it has been blown out of proportion because, at the end of the day, they were never that close because they didn’t train together all that much.
“We just spent a few sessions in three weeks, which was maybe six sessions of training. Definitely less than eight [training sessions]. That was back in January 2019. Because after I fought Curtis Blaydes in China, I went back to Cameroon, and on Christmas, I had the Cain Velasquez fight. So I couldn’t come back to Vegas on time to set up a training camp, because the fight was in Feb. 17, so I stopped in France to train there for one month, and at the time, Ciryl was there training for his fight in TKO, I believe.
“So he left before I left,” Ngannou continued. “I think it was three weeks before I left to go for his fight. Then after that, by the end I think it was Feb. 3, I flew to Phoenix. I was there for two weeks before the fight. That’s it. I don’t know where you guys came from with all this friendship [and] sparring partner. Other than what I explained to you, there’s nothing else. I do believe if you ask him those questions, he’s going to approve those answers. I think regardless, he’s honest.”
For Ngannou, putting the fight with Gane behind him is something he looks forward to given the fact that the lead up to it has been nothing but drama regarding old coaches and sparring footage, something that “The Predator” has tried not to focus on.
Furthermore, a win over Gane will give him all the leverage he needs when it comes time to sit down with Dana White and Co. to discuses a new contract.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 270 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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