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Can Francis Ngannou Become the Heavyweight G.O.A.T?

By Harry Dalton

Francis Ngannou dethroned the consensus greatest Heavyweight of all time in Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, but can the new champ knock him off his perch in the all-time discussion?

The Cameroon-born Francis Ngannou captured his long-awaited UFC Heavyweight crown at UFC 260 in emphatic style by knocking out Stipe Miocic who himself is lauded as the greatest in the UFC Heavyweight division’s history. Having avenged his loss to Miocic, Ngannou looks almost unbeatable. However, could he go even further and overtake his latest victim as the greatest to ever do it?


The Road to Gold

Prior to the first fight with Miocic back in 2018 which was a one-sided decision in favour of the Croatian/ American, Ngannou was on a terrifying win streak. He earned his first shot at UFC gold with a scary KO win over Alistair Overeem on the back of rampaging through the rest of the Heavyweight division. Ngannou looked set to catapult himself to superstardom at UFC 220 until Miocic stopped him in his tracks and pressed pause on his path to gold. After tasting defeat, the African followed it with a gun-shy performance against Derrick Lewis where Ngannou appeared scarred from the shutout loss against the then-champion.

After two losses in a row, Francis Ngannou got back to winning ways by knocking out Curtis Blaydes in Shanghai and started his climb back to the title. Ngannou ran through his next three opponents in similar fashion with a combined fight time of 2 minutes 32 seconds in four fights, dispatching of former champions Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez in the process. His final win of the four against rising contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik in just 20 seconds put the division on notice to earn a second crack at the champ Miocic.

Having cleared out the rest of the division and avenged his biggest defeat to the now former champion Stipe Miocic, Francis Ngannou now looks like a man who cannot be beaten. Ngannou displayed a much-improved skillset from their first meeting with much improved wrestling and a calmer approach to conserve energy. This earned him the undisputed Heavyweight crown and gives him the opportunity to continue his impressive winning run, and potentially etch his name in the history books.

The Resumes

Stipe Miocic currently holds the record for the most consecutive title defences in UFC Heavyweight history with four defences. Ngannou will still have to match Stipe for the record if he wants to become the G.O.A.T. but his resume so far certainly stacks up against the former champ with an impressive UFC record. Here’s how the resumes of the two juggernauts look at the moment:

Francis Ngannou
Record: 16 – 3 – 0
Notable Wins:
• Stipe Miocic (Round 2 KO).
• Jairzinho Rozenstruik (Round 1 KO).
• Junior Dos Santos (Round 1 KO).
• Cain Velasquez (Round 1 TKO).
• Alistair Overeem (Round 1 KO).
• Curtis Blaydes X2 (DEC and Round 1 KO).
• Andrei Arlovski (Round 1 TKO).

Additional facts:
• 10 knockouts in the UFC.
• Sixth in UFC Heavyweight history for shortest average fight time of 5min 37sec (Before UFC 260).
• Eighth in UFC Heavyweight History with 1.34 knockdowns per 15 mins.

Stipe Miocic
Record: 20 – 4 – 0
Notable Wins:
• Daniel Cormier X2 (Round 4 TKO and DEC).
• Francis Ngannou (DEC).
• Junior Dos Santos (Round 1 TKO).
• Alistair Overeem (Round 1 KO).
• Fabricio Werdum (Round 1 KO).
• Andrei Arlovski (Round 1 TKO).
• Mark Hunt (Round 5 TKO).

Additional Facts:
• Most consecutive UFC Heavyweight title defences (4).
• Most UFC Heavyweight title fight wins (6).
• 9 knockouts in the UFC.

Work to be Done

Stipe Miocic still remains the greatest in the Heavyweight division’s illustrious history, but Francis Ngannou now has the opportunity to catch him in terms of records whilst being on the brink of superstardom. The next fight for Ngannou will be majorly significant in his quest for greatness, as he looks set to face pound-for-pound king and former Light-Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, in the first defence of his new crown. Should Ngannou become the first man to defeat Jon Jones (aside from his disqualification loss to Matt Hammill) then the champ will surely have no trouble dispatching of lesser contenders.

Beating Jon Jones is a big ask though as no man has been able to solve that puzzle so far and with a new Heavyweight physique, Jones looks a major threat to the new champion’s title. With that said, Jones’ last fight against Dominic Reyes was a controversial split decision in which many people claimed the challenger was robbed. With a new-look approach and a more complete skillset, Ngannou may fancy his chances against the former Light-Heavyweight king who is striving to seal his own legacy as the greatest ever.

Should Ngannou prevail against Jones, he will surely look to avenge his loss to Derrick Lewis and perhaps defeat more contenders to cement his place at the top. In doing so, he would likely put himself in a position to smash Miocic’s title defence record in stunning fashion. Maybe Jon Jones will be the kryptonite to The Predator and his freakish power, but until then, Francis Ngannou looks a terrifying task for anyone daring enough to challenge him. On that note, it would be hard to bet against him after UFC 260 to go on and claim G.O.A.T. status.

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