Francis Zavier Ngannou is a French-Cameroonian professional mixed martial artist. He is the current Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion. Ngannou is know for being the hardest recorded puncher in the world. As of 9 May 2022, he is ranked fifth in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
He is the pride of an entire continent, Africa. He is the first African man to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. The most prestigious award in the mixed martial arts sport. And he also holds the world record for the most powerful punch. Being hit by Ngannou is like being hit by a small car going full speed. But before he was the world champion and the toughest man on earth, he had a very different life. He was poor, he was homeless, and worked in a sand mine.
Ngannou was born and raised in the village of Batie, Cameroon. He lived in poverty and had little formal education growing up. Ngannou’s parents divorced when he was six years old, and he was sent to live with his aunt. At 10 years old, Ngannou started working in a sand quarry in Batié because of a lack of funds.
As a younster, he was approached by several gangs in his village to join them. However, Nagannou refused and instead decided to use his father’s negative reputation as a street fighter as motivation to do something positive and pursue boxing.
At the age of 22, Ngannou began training in boxing, despite the initial reluctance of his family. After training for a year, Ngannou stopped training due to an illness. He did various odd jobs to make ends meet, until at the age of 26, he decided to head to Paris, France, to pursue professional boxing. However upon reaching Europe, he was jailed for two months in Spain for illegally crossing the border.
After Ngannou reached Paris, he had no money, no friends, and no place to live. After living homeless on the streets of Paris, he met Francis Carmont who introduced him to Fernand Lopez and the MMA factory. Being a fan of Mike Tyson, Ngannou was originally interested in learning how to box but Lopez saw his potential in MMA and convinced him to try MMA instead.
Lopez gave Ngannou some MMA gear and allowed him to train and sleep at the gym for no cost thus starting Ngannou’s MMA career.