There’s a lot of pressure on Francis Ngannou heading into his heavyweight rematch with Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night 141.
Once considered the most dangerous man in the UFC heavyweight division, Ngannou’s stock has plummeted after suffering back-to-back losses to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
After his uninspiring performance against ‘The Black Beast’, which saw Ngannou land just 11 total strikes in the UFC 226 co-main event, ‘Razor’ Blaydes believes the once feared knockout artist ‘seems to have lost his swagger.’
According to Ngannou, however, he’s more confident than ever heading into tomorrow’s rematch in Beijing.
“When I started dreaming of life as a boxer back in my little country of Cameroon, no one believed me at all,” Ngannou told Matthew Scott of the South China Morning Post in a recent interview . “Then I worked my ass off, I did whatever I had to do, and now I am here today. I got there by my work, by my trust in myself and by my confidence.
“Even when I lost two fights I didn’t think I was at the bottom. I still had something in my heart. Now I believe in myself more than before. I learned a lot from my last two fights. Now I am coming back stronger, and you guys are going to agree with me.”
UFC president Dana White blasted Ngannou for having an ‘out of control’ ego, but the Cameroonian says he was under too much ‘pressure’ leading up to his title fight against Miocic at UFC 220.
“I was under high pressure, I put myself in some place that I couldn’t manage,” Ngannou said. “When I realized things were wrong I just took a step back. I tried to remind myself why I am here. What made me take the decision [to be a fighter]. And then I realized that it was my dream. It wasn’t a random choice. What made me be here? It’s my talent. At some point I forgot that thing.
“It might sound selfish but you need to remind yourself that you are good. You need to remind yourself that you are not at the bottom. It hurt me a lot to get out of that. On Saturday night, I am sure I have dealt with the past and I am going to move forward.”
The top-five ranked heavyweight contender will look to spring back into the winners column on Nov. 25, when he takes on Blaydes in the UFC Fight Night 141 main event at Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China.