His first crack at UFC gold was a major learning experience for Francis Ngannou.
“The Predator” met heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in the UFC 220 main event Saturday night in Boston. Although he was the betting favorite, Ngannou was dominated over five rounds, losing a lopsided decision.
Miocic utilized a terrific gameplan of taking Ngannou into deep waters and constantly taking the title challenger down. Ngannou managed to show off his power in the bout, landing a handful of shots on Miocic, but he had very little to offer off his back.
At the event’s post-fight press conference, Ngannou said he realized after the failed title bid that he needs to improve as a fighter — in some areas more than others, of course — if he wants to reign over the heavyweight division one day.
“I still believe I have a lot to learn,” Ngannou said. “A lot of fighters be doing this for a while, and I just doing for four years. I know that in four years, you can’t learn what people did in 15 years or for their entire life. You still have to improve, double your effort, and work harder. And that is what I’m doing, because I know I was late (to the sport).”
Ngannou, who expected to defeat Miocic via knockout within 10 minutes, admitted that he looked past the champion.
“Tonight, I learned that I never learned in this sport since four years,” he said. “I underestimated my opponent, and I discovered some new parts of this sport that I ignored about it. I learned a lot tonight.”
UFC 220, which took place at TD Garden, also featured a light heavyweight title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir. “DC” retained the championship with a second-round TKO victory.