Few would have thought it would be the fight between Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis that would be the fight card snoozer at UFC 226.
Alas, it was. Lewis essentially won the bout by being the least inactive of the two in the fight. That’s saying something, considering the 15 minutes of ‘action’ only garnered 31 landed strikes between the pair according to the UFC.
The Las Vegas crowd in attendance did all they could to entertain themselves, from Mexican waves to shining their phone screens to express their dismay at watching such an uneventful fight between two knockout artists.
UFC President Dana White was similarly unimpressed at the bout. Speaking at the UFC post-event press conference, White describe the fight as “Horrible.”
White didn’t blame the victor Lewis for what we saw, though, and provided some intresting insight on Ngannou.
”I think that [Ngannou] had a pretty quick rise here and obviously the fight over Alistair Overeem catapulted him, everybody was talking about him.
“I thought he was going to be the next [big] guy. I think his ego ran away with him, big time. I can tell you that his ego absolutely did run away with him. The minute that that happens to you in the fight game, you see what happens. You start to fall apart.
”I had some personal encounters with him, as did other people in the organisation, and this guy’s ego was just so out of control,” White continued. “It’s like, before the Stipe [Miocic] fight, he took off and went to France. Didn’t even really train for that fight. And you see the results. Well, he came back and did train [this time], but ego is what hurt Francis Ngannou.”
Given Ngannou’s star potential, it’s unlikely White would publicly speak negatively of a fighter unless something significant happened behind the scenes.
With the heavyweight division given a shake-up in the form of Daniel Cormier on Saturday, it’s unclear what is next for Ngannou. Either way, he will certainly be eager to forget what happened in the Octagon at UFC 226.