The relief on his face and in his body language was so clear to see as Francis Ngannou made quick work of Curtis Blaydes inside 45 seconds on Saturday.

Ngannou had his reputation as a fearsome, heavyweight knockout artist derailed after two devastating losses – for differing reasons – to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis in 2018.

UFC President Dana White even questioned Ngannou’s ego following those losses. Now, riding the wave of victory and with a refreshed mindset, Ngannou proudly stated that he was back.

When Dan Hardy asked Ngannou what opponents he wants next to get him back into the title picture, “The Predator” came armed with three names.

“Junior dos Santos owes me a fight,” Ngannou began in his post-fight interview. “I’m looking for Alexander Volkov and revenge against Stipe Miocic. I didn’t do well in that fight and I really want to fix it.”

Any of those three fights will certainly produce plenty of intrigue. Ngannou looks determined to make as big an impact in 2019 as he did in 2017, leaving the shadow of this year behind.