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Coach: Dana White is right, Francis Ngannou does have an ‘ego’ problem

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“I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘you have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore.’”

MMA: UFC 220- Miocic vs Ngannou Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After Francis Ngannou’s lackluster decision loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226, UFC president Dana White lambasted ‘The Predator’ in public and told the media that his ego is ‘out of control’.

Ngannou disagreed with White’s comments, but longtime coach Fernand Lopez of the MMA Factory said the rumors are true: the Cameroonian does have an ego problem and his personality has changed for the worse.

“The only thing I can say is Dana was speaking about Francis’ ego is probably one of the truths that I witnessed that Dana White said,” Lopez told MMANews.pl (transcript via Jim Edwards of MMANytt). “It’s probably the only truth that I know for a fact, that’s a fact. Why am I saying that? I’m saying that because Ngannou is like a brother for me and when you’re dealing with a brother, problems with your brother, you have to be honest with your brother so he can be a better man.

“In order to make Francis a better man, there are some people that have to have the bad role. The bad job is to tell Ngannou ‘You have a big ego and you have changed with the time.’ That’s the truth. I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘You have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore. Your ego is killing you and it’s just about your ego.’ That’s the thing like.”

According to Lopez, things changed around the Miocic fight. Ngannou, Lopez says, didn’t stick to the gameplan at UFC 220 and refused to admit his faults. The heavy hitting knockout artist lost to Miocic via unanimous decision, but had moments of success throughout the bout.

“Myself I got hurt with a lot of dedication to Francis’ career, I got hurt, a lot,” Lopez said. “When Francis lost the fight with Stipe, no one ever heard Francis say he lost because he didn’t follow the gameplan. He did the opposite of the gameplan that we worked. That loss for Francis, for the belt, had a huge impact for him, but also myself and my gym. Francis being world champion means that I’m a champion coach and that means the MMA Factory is a champion training camp. We missed that because he did not follow the gameplan. He followed the gameplans until the title shot and then the next fight (against Lewis) he was in Syndicate MMA.”

Lopez says he was criticized heavily after Ngannou’s loss to Miocic and is upset that his prized student didn’t tell the media that he didn’t follow the gameplan.

“When all these people are saying what a bad coach I am, it would’ve been nice for Francis to back me up and say ‘No guys, this guy did his job, this guy tried to help me with the best gameplan that he could and he gave me the thing that I should do and I didn’t do that,” Lopez continued. “Instead of saying that he just stayed quiet and people were killing us saying how stupid could I be to just keep training Francis on the feet and not on the wrestling and not the ground game.”

Although Ngannou’s next bout hasn’t been announced, the 31-year-old wants to return to action later this year, preferably against former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.

“I have no injuries. This year I want to fight. 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.”