What Francis Ngannou learned from Stipe Miocic
Francis Ngannou recently sat down with Daniel Cormier and discussed how his first fight against Stipe Miocic thought him some important lessons.
“It was clear even before I left the octagon,” said Ngannou. “If I remember, at the post-fight interview, even before the press conference, I was saying I underestimated my opponent.”
When asked by Cormier if it was easy to underestimate an opponent because of how easy it seemed for him to knock people out, Ngannou replied that it was part of the reason but that a certain level of inexperience was also to blame.
“Yes, also but the truth is, at the time, I didn’t understand the game. I was just going through people. Not even getting octagon time to understand what’s really going on.
“Now I’m just like, get there, fight this guy and suddenly the guy is down. Did that really happen? I don’t care, he’s down. I won.”
His first fight against Miocic was different, however, due to Miocic’s skill.
In his first fight against Ngannou, Stipe Miocic laid the foundations in the very first round.
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 24, 2021
“Then I get in that fight [against Stipe] and it was something different. The moment that I left that octagon, I knew that I have a better understanding of the game. More than what I have learned from the last four years.
“I was four years in MMA, then that night I was like, ‘Oh, that game is something else. It’s not what I thought it was.'”
Back to the drawing board.
That loss sent Ngannou back to the drawing board as he began to analyse his game more closely.
“I went back and thought how can I make this right? What happened in the fight? you did this, you did that, this was wrong, this was wrong, how can you figure that out?
“Then I went to one of the things I pointed out was my biggest mistake. It was not only the fact that I underestimated Stipe but I rushed on him.
Dana White says Stipe Miocic will accept a fight with Jon Jones if Jon Jones doesn’t want to wait for the winner of Gane vs Lewis to fight Francis Ngannou. 👀
— MMA On Point (@OnPointMMA) August 5, 2021
While this is a valuable lesson, it did serve as a great disappointment for those who watched his bout against Derrick Lewis.
The three-round fight was universally hated by fans as nothing seemed to happen and Lewis won by decision because he did slightly more than his opponent.
Many fans speculated that Ngannou was scared of getting hit after the Miocic fight but Ngannou has now claimed it was just a matter of slowing down the pace.
“The whole of the Derrick Lewis fight I was like, don’t rush.
“I was telling myself, don’t rush, you have all the time. At the end of the fight I thought it was maybe the second round or something.
“I wasn’t there because I was still fighting Stipe in my mind, I was like, ‘Oh, this is the end?’ I was still surprised by that.”