Francis Ngannou snaps back at ex-NFL star Shannon Sharpe for calling Conor McGregor a “one-dimensional” MMA fighter
Francis Ngannou is regarded, by some, as the lineal MMA heavyweight champion, as he never lost his 265-pound UFC strap, even after his exodus to the PFL. He also recently impressed the combat sports world by dragging heavyweight boxing great Tyson Fury to a close split decision in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The result made him the most high-profile mixed martial artist in the 265-pound weight class. In light of his success, he recently took part in a Club Shay Shay interview with ex-NFL star and MMA fan Shannon Sharpe, who is widely known for his past partnership in sports analysis with Skip Bayles.
During the interview, Shannon Sharpe described former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor as a one-dimensional fighter. However, Francis Ngannou quickly took issue with the description and made his own observation (at 0:26 seconds) of the Irishman's skills, particularly his abilities on the mat:
"When they say you have a decent ground game, it's not the best on the game. It's a sport of multiple disciplines. You have to be decent at somethings. Most of the time, champions aren't great at one thing. They're just good at a lot. You just need to be good at a lot."
Francis Ngannou also spoke (at 0:59 seconds) on the nuance of how lesser grapplers compete against high-level ones in MMA:
"Sometimes you're fighting a wrestler, you know that as soon as you guys get in the contact, it's different. This guy's been wrestling for 20 years. You can't wrestle for three, two, three months in the training camp and come compete with somebody that's been in wrestling for his entire life. So you just have to avoid to go to that territory, you know? Play with that. But, at the end, you might win that fight, but it doesn't mean you're a better wrestler. If they put you guys in the wrestling game, he'll eat you."
Francis Ngannou's learning lesson against Stipe Miocic
Before he ever enthroned himself as the UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou took on Stipe Miocic for the first time ever. Unfortunately, heading into the fight, the Cameroonian knockout artist wholeheartedly believed that he'd knock Miocic out with ease. This prediction, however, didn't come to pass.
Instead, Ngannou was defeated in a lopsided fashion by Miocic's superior wrestling skills and cardio. The defeat taught Ngannou a valuable lesson in pacing himself, as well as the importance of having the tools to neutralize an opponent's wrestling skills, as well as never falling into the trap of reckless arrogance.