Francis Ngannou Names Two Toughest Opponents Who ‘Astonished’ Him

Even Francis Ngannou has come face-to-face with tough opponents.

While Ngannou, the current heavyweight king, is preparing for one of the biggest fights against the undefeated interim champion, Ciryl Gane, he talked a lot about his former rivals and named who was the most challenging.

After sharing the octagon two times against Stipe Miocic, Ngannou named him the toughest fighter he ever faced. And as the second most formidable rival, he called another guy he fought two times in the UFC, Curtis Blaydes.

“I didn’t have the chance to explore (many of) them, how tough they are. Except Stipe. He’s by far my toughest opponent. If I wanted to bring somebody in, he’d be Curtis Blaydes. In my second fight in the UFC, I was astonished how he was moving for a wrestler and how he was able to mix things up,” Ngannou said.

Ngannou fought against Blaydes twice and earned victories in both battles, but the first battle was more complex for him.

“He was pretty good. He was tough. He was able to absorb punches. He was moving pretty good for a wrestler, and he had a level change, like, way around a fighter,” he added.

With a high fighting IQ, he dominated Ngannou for the whole five rounds, Miocic managed, but in their rematch, Ngannou left no question marks either.

“Let’s just be honest. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t time for me to fight for a title because even though I was a top contender, I was just doing this for five years and been seriously into it for just two years. I didn’t understand anything in the sport… I didn’t really know how to basically prepare a fight for that level, for a world-class (fighter), for a championship. I get everything wrong in that fight,” he said.

Ngannou will protect his belt for the first time in the UFC on Saturday.

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