Anticipation for the rematch between UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and dangerous challenger Francis Ngannou is building ahead of UFC 260.
Miocic weathered an early storm brought by Ngannou in their first fight at UFC 220 in January, 2018. However, Ngannou tired as Miocic smartly executed his gameplan to remove the threat of his opponent’s biggest weapon – his power – with a grappling-based attack over five rounds to defend his belt via a comprehensive unanimous decision.
It was a dominant performance from Miocic, but Ngannou is returning to his role as a title challenger with more experience and an improved set of skills.
Since their first bout, Miocic has embarked on a trilogy of fights with Daniel Cormier.
“DC” was the victor first time round, snatching Miocic’s heavyweight gold to add to his UFC light heavyweight championship.
In the immediate title fight rematch, Miocic made some tweaks to his gameplan on the fly to come from behind and score a knockout win over two-weight champion Cormier.
As for the trilogy fight, Miocic was rarely in any degree of danger as he controlled the fight wherever it went en route to a dominant unanimous decision victory.
That win saw Miocic tie the record of most UFC heavyweight title fight victories with six, cementing his position as one of the greatest big men to ever set foot in the Octagon.
After his loss to Miocic, Ngannou looked gun-shy against Derrick Lewis and lost that rebound fight at UFC 226.
Unfortunately for the rest of his division, the disappointment of two consecutive losses seems to have spurred Ngannou on to become a heavyweight that causes even more destruction than he did before the first Miocic contest.
The Cameroonian bounced back from those two defeats with four consecutive first-round knockout victories to clear his path back to a UFC heavyweight title shot.
His list of victims were all top fighters in their own right: Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and two former champions in Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
In all, it took Ngannou a combined time of two minutes, two seconds to finish each of those opponents.
Champion Miocic and Ngannou were presented to the media at the UFC 260 pre-fight press conference on Thursday. Watch below to see what both men had to say and their face-off ahead of this rematch between two heavy hitters.
UFC 260: Miocic vs. Ngannou full fight card
Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis Ngannou
Welterweight: Tyron Woodley vs. Vicente Luque
Bantamweight: Sean O’Malley vs. Thomas Almeida
Women’s Flyweight: Gillian Robertson vs. Miranda Maverick
Lightweight: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Khama Worthy
Light Heavyweight: Alonzo Menifield vs. Fabio Cherant
Welterweight: Jared Gooden vs. Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Light Heavyweight: Modestas Bukauskas vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk
Featherweight: Shane Young vs. Omar Morales
Middleweight: Marc-André Barriault vs. Abu Azaitar