Francis Ngannou Wins Heavyweight Title After Knockout of Stipe Miocic at UFC 260

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

Francis Ngannou in action against Stipe Miocic during a heavyweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 220, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Boston. Miocic retained his title via unanimous decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
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Francis Ngannou is the new UFC heavyweight champion after a second-round knockout win over Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 260 on Saturday.

The Predator put together a strong first round. Not only did he tag Miocic with some punches that would have knocked out pretty much anyone else on earth, but he also successfully defended a takedown and even took the champion's back. 

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In the second frame, Miocic's chin finally gave way. Ngannou cracked him with another right hand, and a reeling champion gave way to a new era in the heavyweight division. 

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Ngannou showcased a lot of improvement from the original fight in the sequel. That's bad news for the heavyweight division. Whereas he showed some weaknesses in his takedown defense and cardio in the first fight, he was able to shuck Miocic's advances this time and was efficient in his offense. 

This version of Ngannou is going to be tough to unseat. 

The win is the culmination of a fascinating career for Ngannou. The Cameroon native was once living on the streets in Paris before finding his footing in MMA through boxing. Now, he finds himself as the baddest man in the UFC's biggest division.

In one fell swoop, Ngannou avenged one of only two losses under the UFC banner and set up a terrifying title reign. He had lost a unanimous-decision to Miocic in his first title shot, which was followed by an ugly loss to Derrick Lewis.

The scariest thing for future opponents is the way in which he elevated himself back to title contention. He knocked out four opponents in two minutes and 42 seconds combined, which includes two wins under 30 seconds (Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds and Cain Velasquez in 26 seconds).

Moving forward, the UFC has two potential options for the division and the new champion.

UFC President Dana White has already acknowledged that "it would be tough to say that Miocic doesn’t deserve a trilogy fight."

Then there's Jon Jones. The former light heavyweight champion walked away from the 205-pound division he had long ruled to move up to heavyweight.

A superfight between Jones and whoever holds the heavyweight title is likely the biggest matchup the UFC can make at this point.

Whether Ngannou has to prove his worth with another win over Miocic before that happens remains to be seen. For now, The Predator has moved to the top of the food chain, and it's going to be difficult to take the strap away now that he has it.