Daniel Cormier believes Francis Ngannou is one step away from becoming the biggest name in the UFC heavyweight division since Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar became a UFC icon after he joined the promotion from WWE. Even though he had a short career as a mixed martial artist, his legacy was fundamental to the sport's growth in popularity.
The heavyweight division in the UFC has had other stars like Frank Mir and Cain Velazques. Still, according to Cormier, a former heavyweight champion himself, none have matched Lesnar's status.
However, the now-MMA analyst and color commentator thinks that Francis Ngannou could become a UFC superstar in the heavyweight division.
"Brock Lesnar was the last [heavyweight champion] that truly just captured the imagination of the entire sports world, a guy that everybody just wanted to see. With Francis [Ngannou's] fighting style, if he can become the champ, everybody is going to tune in because he's so massive."
Francis Ngannou has a long way to go until he promotes his name to the status that Cormier is projecting for him. First, he will have to defeat current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 on March 27.
Miocic is regarded by most MMA analysts and even UFC president Dana White as the best heavyweight of all time. He is the only champion in the division to have defended the belt three times in a row, one of them precisely against Francis Ngannou.
Even if the Cameroonian-French mixed martial artist leaves Miocic behind and captures the heavyweight belt, he would still have to face Jon Jones next, arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time.
"I believe that Francis is standing at the doorstep of just global superstardom, and man, it's so intriguing. Could you imagine if Francis wins against Stipe [Miocic] and then Francis fights Jon Jones and wins, what type of star this man would be?" Cormier continued.
Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic's first meeting inside the Octagon
Francis Ngannou quickly made his way to the top of the UFC heavyweight rankings. 'The Predator' had an unbeaten run of six straight wins before his first title shot against Stipe Miocic at UFC 220.
The bout was also his first time competing in a UFC main event. Francis Ngannous, who is used to finishing his fights rapidly, did not adjust himself to the five-rounder bout.
His attack power was smartly nullified by Miocic, whose performance was awarded on the judges' scorecard, granting the reigning champion a victory via unanimous decision.