Many fighters never get a second chance at a UFC title. Even exciting prospects and hyped, young athletes get one shot. Francis Ngannou, after 2 straight losses, appeared to be another dead hype machine.
His opportunity to seize his own moment was there for the taking. UFC 220 was his time to shine against the world champion Stipe Miocic. His momentum was unparalleled. His power was gravitational.
However, his strategy and eagerness steamrolled his downfall. After throwing everything with 100% conviction through the first minutes, Ngannou became vulnerable.
He was exhausted, and left with nothing to give. Even if he landed a clean shot, his body was so drained of energy that it did nothing to Stipe.
After a grueling decision loss, Ngannou went back to the drawing board against Derrick Lewis. Here, instead, Ngannou threw nothing. For three rounds, Ngannou and Lewis threw a handful of strikes.
It was dreadful and felt like the end of Ngannou‘s moment.
Then, in an instant, he became the talk of the heavyweight division.
Through 4 straight knockout wins, each less than a minute and a half, Ngannou became the boogeyman once again. The gravity of his power became a force unlike any other just like it was before his first title shot.
It’s hard to tell if Ngannou has improved as a fighter because of his winning streak. His power has once again done everything. Perhaps none of it will matter come March 27.
At UFC 260, he faces the man who took away his first moment. Both have changed since their first meeting three years ago. The critical factor, though, lies within Ngannou. Can he knockout the greatest heavyweight the UFC has ever seen?
This time, he knows what he must do differently. This time, the moment’s importance and sensitivity has become clear for Ngannou. All he has to do is take it.
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