In episode #2 of his Road to Recovery series, Francis Ngannou revealed details of the injury he sustained before his fight against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 that has kept him sidelined from action since February 2022. He also revealed an ominous warning from Dr. Neal ElAttrache ahead of the scheduled title unification bout.
According to Eric Nicksick, the head coach of Francis Ngannou, a fighter from Germany who he was not familiar with, stepped up to spar with the champion. A brief sequence from the session caused the injury. The Cameroonian tore his ACL and MCL four weeks prior to his unanimous decision victory over Gane in January earlier this year.
Dr. ElAttrache, a renowned orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports injuries, had warned Ngannou's team that the heavyweight champion's meniscus would be compromised if he sustained any further damage:
"Overall, his meniscus cartilage right now looks good. The next thing that's going to happen if his knee buckles in competition, there's going to be so much force, he's going to badly bruise the bone and he'll rip the meniscus."
The doctor further added:
"Let's face it, they [rival team] knows that this happened to him. They're going to go after the leg. I think you're not going to be 100% of the fighter that you are [going into the fight at UFC 270]."
Despite the warnings, Francis Ngannou resorted to stem cell treatment and opted not to pull out of the fight against Ciryl Gane. 'The Predator' demonstrated polished grappling skills en route to a unanimous decision victory and defended his heavyweight throne for the first time.
Watch the full episode below:
Eric Nicksick, Francis Ngannou's coach reveals what it's like to train with 'The Predator'
UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou's punching power is equivalent to 96 horsepower, or the equivalent of getting hit by a Ford Escort at top speed. Opponents crumble under those punches, and the heavyweight knockout artist is known to put the opposition out like a light with his brute force.
After Ngannou's loss to Derrick Lewis in 2018, he had a falling out with his former head coach Fernand Lopez and decided to relocate his training camp from France to the United States. 'The Predator' has been training with Eric Nicksick and Dewey Cooper at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas ever since.
Nicksick recently revealed on the Veterans Minimum podcast that holding pads for Ngannou is a painful and terrifying experience:
"He's the hardest puncher in MMA, he's got the death touch everywhere. Left kick, right kick, left hand and right hand. It doesn't matter. Holding his jab, your elbow is ripping out. Holding a cross, your shoulder is ripping down. I just recently started holding pads for him again and my body was like, 'I don't miss this s**t at all."
Watch the full podcast below: