Former UFC heavyweight title contender Francis Ngannou has received a lot of flak for his UFC 226 performance against Derrick Lewis, and understandably so. One of those who did not let up in their criticisms towards “The Predator” was UFC president Dana White.
In White’s view, it was Ngannou’s “out of control ego” that led to the recent two losses against former champion Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
“I had some personal encounters with him, as did other people in the organization, and this guy’s ego was just so out of control,” White said of Ngannou during the UFC 226 post-fight presser. “It’s like, before the Stipe fight, he took off and went to France. Didn’t even really train for that fight. And you see the results.”
“Well, he came back and did train [this time], but ego is what hurt Francis Ngannou.”
On Monday’s episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, Ngannou finally got to respond to White’s comments.
“I don’t necessarily agree I have an ego,” Ngannou said (transcript via MMAjunkie). “I’m never one to stay down when I fell down. You have to have that ego when you’re a fighter. You have to stand there and believe you’re No. 1. That’s ego. But not the one to hurt the people around me.”
With two consecutive losses under his belt, Ngannou is looking to bounce back some time this year. If it were up to him, he would be facing former champion Junior dos Santos.
“I have no injuries. This year I want to fight,” Ngannou said. “Who I want to fight, exactly? I was supposed to fight Junior almost a year, 10 months ago. He just came back. Great win. So, maybe that one.”
After the loss to Lewis, the 31-year-old Cameroon-born fighter now holds a record of 14-3 (with 11 wins by stoppage), and holds the number four spot at the UFC official rankings.