UFC 260: Francis Ngannou's striking coach describes freak moment when the UFC heavyweight 'almost ripped opponent's head off' in training

Francis Ngannou (left and right); Dewey Cooper (center)
Francis Ngannou (left and right); Dewey Cooper (center)

Francis Ngannou’s striking coach, Dewey Cooper, narrated a training story about Francis Ngannou almost ripping a sparring partner’s head and neck off while Ngannou was defending against a takedown.

On an episode of the Javier Mendez AKA Podcast, world-renowned striking coach Dewey Cooper shed light upon yet another example of Francis Ngannou’s otherworldly strength. Cooper stated:

“All I can tell you is his strength is definitely real. Yeah, he’s super-strong. That was a real popular MMA fighter. I’m not gonna say his name, but he fought in UFC, he fought in Bellator. He’s really popular. He’s a really good wrestler. I’ll never forget the time they were sparring at the UFC PI (Performance Institute).

Dewey Cooper added that this was before Francis Ngannou’s December 2017 fight against Alistair Overeem. He continued:

"And this was before the Overeem fight. The guy shot in and got deep into the double. And normally, in order to get out when the guy has you against the fence, you dig your arm in there, get the underhook, and you scoot them up, and spread your legs out all far, and eventually, you wedge off and get off the fence.”
“Anyway, Francis just grabbed this guy. He reached around and grabbed this guy by his chin, and almost ripped his head off. It was like it wasn’t even Mixed Martial Arts. It was just like a Krav Maga street move. This guy is deep in his hips, he reaches around his head, and by his chin, he almost ripped his neck off his shoulders. The guy screams and lets Francis go.
“This guy is a really good wrestler; heavyweight, strong guy. And Francis just almost corkscrewed his head off. We all laughed about it, and we’re like, ‘What was that?’ Even the guy that it happened to was like, ‘What the hell was that, man? You almost ripped my head off.’” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)


Dewey Cooper also recalled another training incident, wherein Francis Ngannou hit a sparring partner with a swatting-sort of hammer-fist punch on the head. The punch wasn’t thrown in the traditional manner and was more of a hammer-fist, but it still managed to leave a huge hematoma on the sparring partner’s head.

Francis Ngannou has his sights set on gold at UFC 260

Stipe Miocic (left); Francis Ngannou (right)
Stipe Miocic (left); Francis Ngannou (right)

Francis Ngannou is scheduled to fight UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic for the title at UFC 260 (March 27th, 2021).

Not only will Francis Ngannou look to win UFC world title gold, but also avenge the 2018 unanimous decision loss he suffered at the hands of Miocic.

Do you see Francis Ngannou emerging victorious at UFC 260? Sound off in the comments.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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