Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Fernand Lopez Has Agreed With Dana White and Slammed His Student’s Ego… He Explained How Francis Ngannou Changed During His Meteoric Rise… 

It turns out Dana White was actually right. The UFC President came in for a lot of criticism after slamming Francis Ngannou’s tepid defeat to Derrick Lewis, in the co-main event of UFC 226. It was probably the most disappointing heavyweight fight of all time and was more like a staring contest than a clash between two knockout artists.

Step back in time two fights, and Ngannou was possibly the most hyped and feared fighter on the roster. After almost decapitating Alistair Overeem with a meteoric uppercut, the Cameroonian fighter was being lauded as the next heavyweight star. Stipe Miocic put an end to the hype, but still, everyone expected he would come back stronger.

Fernand Lopez, Ngannou’s former head coach in Paris, has said that despite the criticism directed towards Dana White for his post-fight comments, he actually spoke the truth. In a sensational interview, he explained the changes that he saw in his student and friend.

Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) fights Derrick Lewis (blue gloves) during UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.


Like Ngannou, Lopez is originally from Cameroon. The pair bonded after the former turned up at the MMA Factory in Paris and asked if he could train. Lopez saw Ngannou’s potential and took him in. It’s a truly incredible story. There’s clearly trouble in paradise though. Lopez told the radio show:

”In order to make Francis a better man, there are some people that have to have the bad role. The bad job is to tell Ngannou ‘You have a big ego and you have changed with the time.’ That’s the truth. I had the conversation with Ngannou and I said to him ‘You have changed my friend, you have changed. You’re not the same anymore. Your ego is killing you and it’s just about your ego.’ That’s the thing like.”

Stipe Miocic v Francis Ngannou. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sport.

Sour Grapes?

If you’re hoping for a clearcut example of how Ngannou’s ego took control of him, then you might be disappointed. Lopez basically said that he didn’t follow their gameplan when he fought Stipe Miocic. Then he moved to Syndicate MMA in Nevada. He explained:

“Myself I got hurt with a lot of dedication to Francis’ career, I got hurt, a lot. When Francis lost the fight with Stipe, no one ever heard Francis say he lost because he didn’t follow the gameplan. He did the opposite of the gameplan that we worked. That loss for Francis, for the belt, had a huge impact for him, but also myself and my gym.

Francis being world champion means that I’m a champion coach and that means the MMA Factory is a champion training camp. We missed that because he did not follow the gameplan. He followed the gameplans until the title shot and then the next fight he was in Syndicate MMA.”

Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) reacts after his bout against Derrick Lewis (blue gloves) during UFC 226 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports


There’s obviously more than one side to every story. However, it’s clear that Lopez feels a tad betrayed by his student after all that he did for him. He said:

“When all these people are saying what a bad coach I am, it would’ve been nice for Francis to back me up and say ‘No guys, this guy did his job, this guy tried to help me with the best gameplan that he could and he gave me the thing that I should do and I didn’t do that. Instead of saying that he just stayed quiet and people were killing us saying how stupid could I be to just keep training Francis on the feet and not on the wrestling and not the ground game.”

Ngannou has a final chance to make amends against Curtis Blaydes in Beijing. A third loss in a row will put his UFC career in serious jeopardy. It’s a sad fall from grace for both Lopez and Ngannou.

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