Francis Ngannou: UFC Heavyweight Champ Has Gone From Poverty, to Prison, to the World’s Most Powerful Puncher

Francis Ngannou: UFC Heavyweight Champ Has Gone From Poverty, to Prison, to the World’s Most Powerful Puncher

Byron Pillay
November 23, 2022 at 7:55 AM
  • Francis Ngannou had a tough upbringing but it didn't stop him from rising up to become a world champion
  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champ has gone from living on the streets to being one of the most feared men on the planet
  • Cameroon's Francis Ngannou's holds the record for the most powerful punch in the world, a punch described as getting hit by a speeding car

Francis Ngannou is one of the most popular and feared fighters in the world but the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight titleholder didn't have the easiest road to get where he is.

Nicknamed The Predator, Ngannou was born in Batié, Cameroon, and grew up in poverty with no formal education.

Francis Ngannou, UFC, MMA, Cameroon, Sport, World, The Predator
Francis Ngannou had a tough upbringing but it only helped him shape him into the person he is today, the UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World. Image: @francisngannou
Source: Instagram

As he recalled in an interview with Joe Rogan, he had to search for food in bins as a youngster, often 'fighting' with rats for the scraps.

Ngannou's father was a known streetfighter in the area and also abused his wife and kids. His parents split when he was six and he was sent to live with his aunt. He returned to live with his mother later on, ChildhoodBiography.Com reported.

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Francis Ngannou, UFC, MMA, Cameroon, Sport, World, The Predator
A young Francis Ngannou with his dad. Image: @francisngannou
Source: Instagram

With his father's reputation as a fighter many gangs tried to get a young Francis to join them but he always refused. He did have a love of boxing though and at 22 he started training to be a boxer.

At 26 he decided to move to France to pursue professional boxing. The dream didn't go as planned originally and Ngannou was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally entering Europe.

After serving his sentence and making his way to France, Ngannou still had no place to live, no money and no friends. He lived on the streets of Paris until he was introduced to a trainer at the MMA Factory. While he originally wanted to take up boxing, he was convinced to instead try his hand at mixed martial arts and the rest is history.

Ngannou rose up the ranks and in March 2021 he beat Stipe Miocic to be crowned the new UFC Heavyweight Champion. Ngannou is one of three African champions in the UFC.

He recently defeated Ciryl Gane to retain his title at UFC 270.

Ngannou is not only the UFC Champion but he also holds the world record for the most hardest punch ever recorded. UFC President Dana White described getting hit by Ngannou as being hit by a Ford Estcort going at full speed, The Mirror reported.

Despite his current success Ngannou has never forgotten his upbringing and often visits his home country of Cameroon.

He started the Francis Ngannou Foundation which runs the first MMA Gym in Cameroon. He also tries to uplift the lives of children in Cameroon, trying to give them hope for the future.

Cameroon's Francis Ngannou still the baddest man on the planet, defeats Ciryl Gane on points

In other MMA news, Cameroon's Francis Ngannou retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title this morning after a unanimous points decision win over Cyril Gane, Sports Brief earlier reported.

Ngannou, who hails from Batié in Cameroon won the fight on all three of the judges' scorecards. Ngannou is nicknamed The Predator and his punching power is legendary, but it was his ground game that won him the fight.

Coming into the fight with both his legs sporting knee pads, many thought that Gane would target the legs. He didn't need to though as for the first two rounds, he stayed out of range of Ngannou's power and racked up some easy points.

Byron Pillay photo
Byron Pillay
Byron Pillay is a sports writer and Head of the Department at Sports Brief (joined in 2022) with over 10 years of experience in community journalism and a degree in journalism from Caxton's Cadet School.
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