Francis Ngannou has promised it will be hard to take the UFC heavyweight belt away from him now that he has become the division's champion.
'The Predator' finally reached his goal after beating Stipe Miocic with a second-round knockout at UFC 260 last Saturday, becoming the 22nd different heavyweight champion.
He took to his Twitter account to share a motivational message with his fans worldwide while also assuring rivals he plans to hold the title for a long time.
"[I] finally got a hold of the belt, and this is going to be for a while. This right here is more than a belt, but a symbol of hope and dedication. It shows how far you can go if you believe in [yourself]. And [it] doesn't matter how far behind you are, [it] doesn't matter how many obstacles you meet along the road (and believe me, they can be countless), you can overcome them and reach your goal because the only limit that you have is YOU and nothing else," Francis Ngannou wrote.
Born in Cameroon, Africa, Francis Ngannou has a rags-to-riches life story. At ten years of age, he was already working in a sand mine in Batié, his hometown.
He was arrested after illegally crossing the border from Morocco to Spain in 2012. Three years later, he would be making his debut in the UFC, fighting his way to the top. It took him another six years to become a heavyweight champion.
Francis Ngannou becomes the first African-born UFC heavyweight champion
With the UFC heavyweight belt changing hands once more, the weight class distances itself even more from the others in the promotion as the division with the most different champions in history.
With Francis Ngannou stripping the belt away from Stipe Miocic, the championship was captured by 17 different fighters in 22 title changes.
Miocic is the most decorated heavyweight champion of all time, winning the belt twice and defending it three. His two reigns lasted 1,374 days when added.
While Mark Coleman was the first UFC heavyweight champion, Randy Couture was the first to win the belt twice and the only one so far to win it three times.
Besides Bas Rutten, Andrei Arlovski, Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, and now Francis Ngannou, all the other 11 heavyweight champions were American.
For how long do you think Francis Ngannou can keep the UFC heavyweight belt? Sound off in the comments.