Ngannou has lost back-to-back fights. (Photo: Brandon
(11-3) is a heavyweight fighter who competes in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
. For his next outing, the
hulking Cameroonian will rematch Curtis
in the main event at
UFC Fight Night 141
at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing on Nov.
In the build-up to the pivotal match-up, here are five things that
you might not know about the man they call “The Predator.”
1. He used to work in a sand quarry.
Ngannou was born and raised in the village of Batie, in western
Cameroon. The area is so famous for its sand quarries that Batie is
sometimes referred to as “The Sand Village.” It was in a sand mine
that the 12-year-old Ngannou found his first employment. The
back-breaking and dangerous work entailed shovelling sand into
trucks and scooping it out of riverbeds. The job provided a
much-needed stipend for the young Ngannou, who hailing from a poor
family, did not have the means to pursue an education.
2. He has never been stopped.
Ngannou has suffered three setbacks during his 14-bout career to
date. All of those losses were by decision. His first defeat was in
only his second contest, a two-round losing effort in December of
2013. The Predator was not to lose again until over four years and
10 appearances later, when he was bested in his five-round
heavyweight title clash against Stipe
at UFC 220 on Jan. 20, 2018. Ngannou went on to lose his
next and last fight by decision; a July 2018 snooze-fest against
at UFC 226. In contrast, when it comes to Ngannou’s
victories, judges are not required. He has won on 11 occasions,
with all coming by way of stoppage. 7 (64 percent) via KO/TKO and 4
(36 percent) through submission.
3. He initially wanted to pursue a career in boxing.
As a child, Ngannou’s hero was Mike Tyson. However, the young
Ngannou did not get the opportunity to follow in his idol’s
footsteps, as there were no boxing training facilities in the
vicinity of his village. When he was 22, Ngannou moved to the
Cameroonian city Douala, in search of formal boxing tuition. There
he commenced training in the sport, while making ends meet with a
heavy-lifting job in the garment industry.
4. He was once homeless.
Ngannou found himself increasingly disillusioned with life in
Cameroon, where he saw little opportunity to achieve his dream of
becoming a professional athlete. At the age of 26, he moved to
Paris with the objective of making a career in boxing. There he
found himself broke, living on the streets and sleeping under
bridges of the River Seine. However, in the city, Ngannou found the
structured training he so craved. Initially, he practised boxing,
but was soon enticed into the world of mixed martial arts. Today,
Ngannou looks back on his decision to move to France as the most
important of his life.
5. He only trained for a year before taking his first
The muscular and athletic Ngannou took to MMA very quickly. Having
omitted an amateur career, Ngannou entered the paid ranks merely a
year after moving to the French capital. In his first contest in
November 2013, he emerged triumphant via first-round armbar.
Ngannou would go on to win four of his next five bouts before being
signed by the UFC in 2015.