Most people who think their lives are hard are surprised to learn the hard facts about Francis Ngannou. Beyond the fame and attraction as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and Boxer, Francis Ngannou the former UFC Heavyweight Title holder is a very astounding person indeed.
Francis Ngannou passed through the school of hard knocks. His life story is a reminder to everyone who reads it that when life knocks you down, you get right back up and keep fighting.
Francis Ngannou has kept fighting throughout his life; ever since he was a little boy he has survived by sheer will. If you think your life is hard, these facts about the champion should set you straight.
22 Did You Know Facts About Francis Ngannou
1. He was Born In Cameroon
Now resident in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Francis Ngannou was born in Batié, Cameroon. He was born on 5 September 1986.
2. He Did Not Grow Up With His Parents
Francis Ngannou’s parents divorced when he was 6 years old, and as a result he was sent to live with an aunt in a different city. He did not have frequent contact with his parents while growing up. Many marriages these days do not reach ten years.
3. He Had A Rough Childhood
Francis Ngannou had a hard life right from childhood. At 10 years old he was working in a sand mine because that was the only way to put food on the table. At the sand mine he was often faced with physical violence. Throwing punches became a part of life.
4. He Could Have Become A Gangster
At around 15 he was quite a big kid. He was approached by gangsters to join up with them. Francis Ngannou indicated that he refused their advances- a move which is credited to making him the man that he is today.
5. He Started At 22
While most professional athletes start their training in their early teens, Francis Ngannou started training at the age of 22. Many people do not know that when he started training, he was training as a boxer.
6. He Nearly Quit
Yes, he nearly quit, but not because he was soft. Francis Ngannou had to stop training for several months because of an illness. However, after he became better, he gradually resumed full training, showing that he has the heart to achieve great things, overcoming any set back on the way.
7. He Went To Jail
Yes, but not for stealing or fighting. When he was 26 years old, Francis Ngannou decided to travel to France so as to pursue a career in professional boxing. However, lacking the funds to travel the proper way, he made it across the desert, and crossed the Mediterranean, and then landed in Spain. In Spain he was jailed for two months for illegally crossing the border.
8. Living On The Streets
When he got to France, he had no money, no friends, and no job. He literally had to spend months living on the streets. However, he never gave up on his dream, but continued to seek out a place to train. He found a boxing club, where he met Didier Carmont, a coach who understood his situation and wanted to help.
The coach convinced the club to let him train for free, and also helped him find a place to stay. This good fortune was what put one foot through the door for him, and it was through his meeting with this coach that he had the opportunity to show what he can do.
9. A Fan Of Mike Tyson
Growing up, Francis Ngannou loved Mike Tyson for his fighting style. In fact he wanted to be the next Mike Tyson, and considered himself good enough. In training he would imitate some of mike Tyson’s moves, and he joked with friends about surpassing his achievements.
10. He Had To Let It Go
Coach Didier Carmont convinced Francis Ngannou to shelve his desire to be a boxer, and to try MMA instead. He noted that Francis Ngannou has superior athleticism, which gives him an edge in Mixed Martial Arts, and that there are more opportunities to excel in MMA than there are in Boxing.
11. A Quick Learner
As a good boy, Francis Listened, and started training in MMA, even though he know nothing about the sport. This is one fact about Francis Ngannou that has been overlooked by most of the media. He is a good learner, and listens to his advisers.
This gives him the advantage of adaptability. He is open to learning new tactics, and even in the ring, he quickly changes his approach to a match when told to do so by his coach.
12. A Hard Hitter
Francis Ngannou holds the record for the hardest punch ever recorded at 129,161 units. He is known throughout the world for his destructive power, which makes fighters dread to step into the ring with him.
13. A Serial Winner
With his strength, agility, and punching power, he made easy pickings of the fighters that he came across in his early days. He quickly built a reputation for himself, and generated a lot of interest from several promoters.
14. A UFC Sensation
When he got into UFC, his first fight was a knock out win in the second round. His opponent Luis Henrique holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After that fight, Francis Ngannou went on to square off against many tough fighters in the UFC.
15. He Became UFC Champion
Francis Ngannou became UFC Champion by unanimous decision on January 22, 2022. The fight was against Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane. This was his first decision win of his career, and it was later revealed that he had injured his knee ligaments a few weeks prior to the fight.
16. He Was Never Defeated As Champion
That is another very interesting fact about Francis Ngannou. He was not defeated as UFC Champion, rather he forfeited the belt when he could not come to terms with UFC over a new contract.
He was the first UFC champion to leave the organization since B.J Penn, back in 2004.
17. He Was Fighting For Everyone
Most people immediately think that Francis Ngannou was trying to get a bigger pay from the UFC. That is true. However, he was not just trying to get more money for himself; he was trying to help the smaller fighters as well.
He wanted health insurance for all fighters, as well as the ability for all fighters to have sponsorships. Furthermore, he wanted every fighter to sign their contracts in the presence of their lawyers, thus ensuring that they know what they are signing.
18. Francis Ngannou Is A Philanthropist
In an interview, he recalled that he had nothing, and needed everything. He stated that he remembers what that felt like, and that he knows there are many more such young people with nothing but their dreams to keep them going.
For this reason, Francis Ngannou does not waste money on unnecessary things, rather he uses his wealth to give others an opportunity. He organizes charitable efforts in his country Cameroon.
19. He Made It Bigger After UFC
When he left UFC many people must have thought that his career was over. However, he signed a deal with Professional Fighters League (PFL), and became one of their biggest fighters, featuring in their Pay Per View.
He signed for a huge sum, and also took care of his opponents. According to the contract he signed, his opponents must be paid a minimum of $2 million for getting in the ring with him.
The deal also allowed him to pursue a career in the boxing ring.
20. Francis Ngannou Is A Boxer
Having signed an MMA contract that does not stop him from pursuing a career in boxing, Francis Ngannou went into boxing. But with a standing height of 6ft 4 inches, and weighing around 300 pounds, what was his weight division?
He became a heavyweight boxer. As an already popular name in the world of fighting sports, Francis Ngannou became an instant hit as a boxer.
21. Recently Learned English
All the sources say Francis Ngannou speaks three languages; French, Ngemba, and English. What they fail to mention is that he only recently learned the English language. In fact, it was after signing for the UFC that he started learning to speak English.
22. Fought For The Heavyweight Boxing Title
Francis Ngannou fought the undefeated WBC heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury for the belt. The fight was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 28, 2023. The fight was decided by split decision, which held that Tyson Fury was the winner.
Nevertheless, it was not an easy contest; he floored Tyson Fury in the third round.
That is all you need to know about Francis Ngannou of Cameroon and France; the Mixed Martial Arts fighter who is also a professional boxer. He has already featured in a few movies, making him also an actor.
It is not known how much he has in the bank, but what is clear is that he gives a lot of money out to charity.