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Francis Zavier Ngannou, born September 5, 1986, is a professional mixed martial artist and boxer of Cameroonian-French descent. He is signed with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the heavyweight division. At the time of his departure from the UFC, Ngannou held the title of UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Ngannou’s journey started in the village of Batié, Cameroon. Despite growing up in poverty with limited education, he overcame challenges. Rejecting gang offers, Ngannou drew inspiration from his father’s street-fighting reputation. Motivated to pursue a positive path, he focused on boxing, starting at 22, despite family resistance. Illness interrupted his training after a year. Ngannou worked odd jobs until 26, when he pursued pro boxing in Paris. However, his journey to Europe faced obstacles, including being jailed for illegal border crossing in Spain.
Arriving in Paris with no money or place to live, Ngannou found himself homeless. During this time, he met Francis Carmont, who introduced him to Fernand Lopez and the MMA Factory. Recognizing Ngannou’s potential in MMA, Lopez convinced him to try it. Lopez marked the start of Ngannou’s MMA career by providing gear and free training.
Ngannou’s journey from a challenging upbringing to a professional athlete showcases his resilience and passion.
The highly-anticipated Miocic vs. Ngannou rematch for the UFC Heavyweight Championship occurred on March 27, 2021, at UFC 260. Ngannou won with a second-round knockout, earning the “Performance of the Night” award.
In his first title defense, Ngannou faced Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane on January 22, 2022, at UFC 270. Despite a knee injury three and a half weeks before the fight, Ngannou secured a unanimous decision win, his first decision victory.
However, on January 14, 2023, the UFC stripped Ngannou of the Heavyweight Championship due to failed contract negotiations. After his contract expired in mid-December, Ngannou requested health insurance, sponsorships for all UFC fighters, and fighter advocate representation during contract negotiations. Unfortunately, his requests were denied, leading to his decision not to re-sign with the UFC. This made him the first reigning champion to part ways with the UFC since B.J. Penn in 2004.
Since leaving the UFC, Ngannou has expressed interest in pursuing a boxing career and facing Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in the ring.
Excitingly, Ngannou signed a multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) on May 16, 2023. He will compete in their pay-per-view “super fight” division while retaining the freedom to participate in other sports, including boxing. Ngannou’s contract negotiation also guaranteed a minimum payout of $2 million for his opponents. Additionally, he will serve on PFL’s global advisory board, advocating for fighters’ interests, and hold the position of equity owner and chairman for the upcoming PFL Africa league. This groundbreaking PFL contract has been recognized as a historic moment in the sport, setting a new standard in the MMA free-agent market, as Daniel Cormier and various media outlets noted.
Rumors have been circulating that Francis is dating Miesha Tate, an American professional mixed martial artist. Miesha, also known as Cupcake, was born on August 18, 1986, in Tacoma, Washington, in the United States. Her journey into MMA began during her time at Central Washington University when a friend encouraged her to join a club. Miesha made her professional debut in November 2007 and achieved her first title, the 135-pound FCF Women’s Bantamweight Championship, in 2009.
Francis Ngannou’s upbringing was marked by poverty, as he and his parents, Emmanuel Fosso and Mamma Ngannou, along with four siblings, resided in a sand mine in Cameroon. Tragically, his father, Emmanuel, was known for his involvement in street fighting and passed away when Francis was just 15 years old, leaving him without a paternal figure to provide guidance.
All Francis Ngannou fight tickets can be purchased from the official UFC website.
Francis Ngannou stands out among UFC fighters for not having tattoos, which is uncommon.
Francis Zavier Ngannou is a Cameroonian with French citizenship.
Upon reaching Tarifa, located in the southern region of Spain, Ngannou found himself intercepted by the authorities. He endured a two-month imprisonment for his daring journey across the Moroccan-Spanish border by sea. Following his release, Ngannou was granted refugee status and eventually found his way to France.
Francis’s coaches include Eric Nicksick as the head coach, Dewey Cooper as the striking coach, and Fernand Lopez, who used to be part of the coaching team.
The Francis Ngannou fight is in the Heavyweight division.
Francis Ngannou, a former heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has recently entered into a unique multi-fight contract in 2023 with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), a rival promotion company. This move concludes a widely-discussed period of free agency, which shed light on contentious issues such as fighter compensation and athlete influence in the ever-evolving landscape of mixed martial arts.
The highly anticipated rematch between Miocic and Ngannou for the UFC Heavyweight Championship unfolded on March 27, 2021, at UFC 260. In a remarkable display of skill and power, Ngannou emerged victorious, delivering a devastating knockout in the second round.
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