From working in a sand quarry in Cameroon to holding UFC gold, Francis Ngannou has had quite a journey. The 37-year-old has reached the top of the mountain and continues to elevate himself, both as a fighter and as a human being. He will now test himself in the prize ring when he competes in his first boxing fight against heavyweight champ Tyson Fury on October 28.
Ngannou used his father’s reputation as a street fighter to make something of himself. Training in boxing at 22, Ngannou traveled to France, where he eventually switched to MMA. “The Predator” turned pro in 2013, joined the UFC in 2015, and became UFC heavyweight champion in 2021. He left the UFC in 2023 and signed with the Professional Fighters League.
Ngannou will fulfill a dream when he steps into the ring with Fury in what will be the most significant crossover fight since Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor in 2017. There is actually a real possibility that Ngannou will continue to compete in boxing because the sport was his first love. He credits watching the fights of his trainer-advisor and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for creating the passion.
“It was cool watching it,” Ngannou said via ESPN. “And it was exciting because when you start to box, it’s all fundamentals — raise your hand, move like this, lateral, vertical, forward, backward. But then you see these professionals, and they fight differently. They have their hands down, and it doesn’t look fundamental. But if you look at Mike Tyson, it’s just fighting fundamentals as a heavyweight.”
The Sporting News looks into Ngannou’s name and how those in the combat sports world have properly pronounced it.
How to pronounce Francis Ngannou
Legendary MMA announcer Bruce Buffer has bellowed Ngannou’s name over the years and has the pronunciation down. The way to say Ngannou is as follows: