Francis Ngannou’s defensive wrestling is still very much a question mark heading into the Stipe Miocic rematch, but Xtreme Couture head coach Erick Nicksick has assured us that ‘The Predator’ has improved leaps and bounds in that department since the first fight and is ready to prove the doubters wrong at UFC 260.
Nicksick says Ngannou has been working on his wrestling everyday in preparation for UFC 260 and that the Cameroonian knockout artist has even been ‘blowing through guys’ with takedowns of his own.
“We had to implement [wrestling] in every practice that we do,” Nicksick told MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin ahead of Ngannou’s rematch with Miocic at the weekend. “So it’s not like one practice you’re sparring or hitting pads. It’s MMA. So every practice you have to focus on defending a takedown. Furthermore, you have to focus on taking guys down yourself. You have to have offensive wrestling just as important as your defensive wrestling.
“Those are some of the things, as scary as it sounds, this dude is blowing through guys on takedowns, putting guys on their backs and beating them up from the top. This guy is now enjoying the elements of wrestling offensively and defensively and understanding there is another path he can find a victory and not shy away from wrestling. You need to implement it one way or another.”
The proof is, of course, in the pudding, and Nicksick can’t wait to see Ngannou demonstrate his newfound skills on Saturday night.
“We can talk about it we’re blue in the face but you have to prove it,” he said. “You have to show people. Everybody is going to have their doubts until you’re able to implement it.”
UFC 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou II takes place Saturday, March 27 at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas.