Was Francis Ngannou a refugee?

Last Modified Feb 24, 2024 10:21 GMT
Was Francis Ngannou a refugee?
Tyson Fury v Francis Ngannou Press Conference


Francis Zavier Ngannou is a Cameroonian-French MMA fighter. Before Jon Jones, Ngannou was the previous UFC Heavyweight Champion at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Born on September 5, 1986, in Batie, Cameroon, Ngannou had to face a lot of difficulties in his childhood and tried to make it out of Cameroon for a better future. He initially wanted to be a boxer but chose to become an MMA fighter when he reached France.


Francis Ngannou made his UFC debut on December 19, 2015. He faced fellow newcomer Luis Henrique at UFC on Fox 17 and defeated him via KO in Round 2. He is the first UFC champion from Cameroon. He is also a 6-time winner of the Performance of the Night bonus. He had his last UFC fight against Ciryl Gane on January 22, 2022, whom he defeated by unanimous decision after 5 rounds.


In his professional MMA career, Ngannou has won 17 fights (12 by knockout, 4 by submission, and 1 by decision) and 3 fights by decision (17-3-0). He will also make his Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) in 2024.



Francis Ngannou Refugee Past


Yes, Francis Ngannou was a refugee from Cameroon. Ngannou was determined to improve his condition and wanted to be a professional boxer. Hence, he decided to leave Cameroon. He traveled 2,000 miles, mainly on foot and on the backside of smugglers' trucks. He reached Nigeria from Cameroon, then from Nigeria to Niger, from Niger to Algeria and finally to Morocco.


In Morocco, he wanted to get into Spanish territory. That is why he tried to cross the ocean on an inflatable raft. Even then, he was stopped six times by the Moroccan forces, and they penalized him by either leaving him in the desert or putting him in prison. He had to research the best ways to cross the border in Internet cafes while avoiding the Moroccan police.


Eventually, he made it to Spanish waters on his seventh try, from where he was rescued by a Red Cross boat. He was imprisoned in a Spanish prison for two months, after which he was released due to a lack of repatriation between Spain and Morocco. He was also given refugee status. Finally, he went to Paris, France, where he got introduced to MMA fighting, and he decided to take it up. He fought in several promotions before eventually arriving in the UFC.



Francis Ngannou MMA Career Highlights Prior to the UFC


Francis Ngannou had fought in several promotions before signing with the UFC. Here are some of his career highlights prior to signing for the UFC.



November 30, 2013


Francis Ngannou faced Rachid Benzina at 100% Fight- Contenders 20. However, he defeated Benzina by submission through an armbar in 1 minute 44 seconds during Round 1.



April 5, 2014


Francis Ngannou had two fights at 100% Fight 20 - Comeback. He had to fight against Bilal Tahtani and Nicolas Specq. However, he won both the fights. He defeated Tahtani by KO through a punch in 3 minutes 58 seconds during Round 1. He also defeated Nicolas Specq by submission through an Arm Triangle Choke in 2 minutes 10 seconds during Round 2.



September 10, 2014


Francis Ngannou faced Luc Ngeleka at SHC 10 - Carvalho vs Belo. However, he defeated Ngeleka via submission through a guillotine choke in 43 seconds during Round 1.



May 28, 2015


Francis Ngannou faced William Baldutti at KHK MMA National Tryouts- Finale. He defeated Baldutti by TKO with a punch in Round 2.




Last Updated On February 24, 2024.


FAQs

A. Francis Ngannou has an MMA record of 17-3-0 so far.

A. Francis Ngannou competed in the heavyweight division in the UFC.

A. Francis Ngannou is 6’4” in height and weighs 257 lbs.

A. Yes, Francis Ngannou was a refugee who made it from his home country of Cameroon to Spain.

A. Francis Ngannou’s next opponent is Anthony Joshua. 

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