“Francis trained very hard for months, since the (Junior) Dos Santos fight got canceled,” Dewey Cooper on Monday told MMAjunkie Radio. “He stayed in the gym working hard, had great sparring, and we all expected the outcome that the world saw.”
In taking out Overeem (43-16 MMA, 8-5 UFC), Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC), the No. 9 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, notched his sixth straight win and cemented his status as one of MMA’s hardest punchers. He also secured a title shot against No. 1 ranked champ Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC), which could take place early next year.
Both fighters have stopped their past four opponents in the first round. UFC President Dana White indicated scheduling will take place when negotiations are finalized on a new contract for Miocic.
Responding today to a Miocic dig on Twitter, Ngannou wrote, “Enjoy the belt while you can and say your farewell before your next fight. #AndNew.”
Cooper, a former kickboxer and MMA fighter, will be in Ngannou’s corner when the title challenge takes place. But as fast as the heavyweight is ascending, the coach doesn’t want to rush things.
After all, it’s been only six months since Ngannou moved to Las Vegas to further his career. Only three years ago, he stepped on MMA gloves for the first time.
“If it were up to me, I’d like to take a little time just to recalibrate, keep working out, get different sparring, work more just to improve on the perfections,” Cooper said. “But it’s totally up to Francis. He didn’t get any injuries. He said he’s willing to fight any time.
“Whenever we get the date, he’ll be ready. I like to let things simmer down, refresh yourself, and go again.”
The brutality Ngannou displays inside the octagon is countered by intense study outside it, which makes him a more well-rounded threat than outsiders may realize.
“This isn’t some jock-type guy,” Cooper said. “He’s really smart, he really studies, he really studies, and he really believes what he’s going to accomplish. Everything is coming to fruition right now.”
There’s no limit to Ngannou’s potential in other sports, as well. Cooper said if the 31-year-old Cameroon native wanted to compete in boxing, he would quickly move into the ranks of contenders.
“He has punching power,” Cooper said. “Anyone that has that equalizer will fare well. If he spends more time and takes it seriously, trains hard, he could be a champ in boxing also.
“Everyone was so enthralled about the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight. I’d like to see Francis about one year from now fight whoever the heavyweight champion is, whether it be Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. Thta would be a real fight, where an MMA fighter could go in there and upset a current boxing champion.”
But first, Team Ngannou will focus on taking the UFC heavyweight title.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Coach: UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou could fight Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder