On Saturday, Francis Ngannou has one other likelihood to prise the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic.
It didn’t go nicely for him the primary time, in 2018 at UFC 220, when Miocic comprehensively defeated the highly effective challenger with a gameplan that featured takedowns and hanging within the clinch.
Will or not it’s the identical this time, in the primary occasion at UFC 260? Right here’s what a few of the largest names within the sport need to say concerning the end result.
Curtis Blaydes, UFC heavyweight
“I’m going with Stipe. His sport plan was strong and efficient final struggle, and I see no motive for him to alter something up going into this struggle.
“Plus, I nonetheless consider Francis isn’t competent sufficient in his grappling defence to cease Stipe.”
Stephen Thompson, UFC welterweight
“I received Stipe. I consider he can do the identical factor he did final struggle. Clearly, Francis has gotten loads higher, however so has Stipe.
“His skill to adapt throughout a struggle is wonderful. I believe he can use the clinch and wrestling techniques in opposition to Ngannou.”
Daniel Cormier, former double UFC champion
“I believe Francis does knock him out this time. Took an excessive amount of injury in these fights between him and I.
“Miocic could be at the perfect model of himself we’ve ever seen. He’s gotten higher and sooner. He’s misplaced weight and is extra dedicated. His palms are quick however he hasn’t misplaced any of the punching energy. However Francis Ngannou appears primed and able to problem Stipe at a stage that he wasn’t capable of do the primary time.
“Earlier than, Francis was chopping to make heavyweight! Now he weighs in each time at 250lbs. So 15lbs off, he appears as if he understands over the course of an extended struggle he must be smaller and leaner. It’s an enormous time struggle, man.”
Israel Adesanya, UFC middleweight champion
“I really feel like Ngannou in that first struggle was in love along with his energy. He knew if he touched folks they might fall asleep. He knew that. He has discovered from that first struggle, and I really feel he has grown from it.
“I’ve talked to him first-hand and I do know what he’s able to. He’s a man that you simply don’t need to get touched by. Now he is aware of. He is a great fighter and I can’t wait. I’m rooting for the brother.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov, unbeaten former UFC light-weight champion
“Miocic and Ngannou, truthfully it’s very laborious to select this struggle. They’re each superb. Miocic is superb, Ngannou is nice… I don’t know. It’s 50/50.”
Leon Edwards, welterweight
“I believe this time Francis may get him, you understand. I believe Francis will get him this time.”
Michael Bisping, UFC Corridor of Famer and former middleweight champion
“You recognize it’s loopy as a result of Stipe is the underdog on this struggle and he’s an excellent greater underdog than he was within the first struggle, which is wild! However I do get it. Ngannou is getting higher, he simply appears to have the ability to contact any person they usually go to sleep.
“The man has insane, freaky energy and he’s getting higher on a regular basis. When he first got here to the UFC, he was simply this huge, huge, muscular man with huge swings, however now he’s getting extra technical and he’s getting superb. Clearly, within the first struggle he is aware of the place he went unsuitable, however can he get adequate at stopping takedowns and controlling his fuel tank and going 5 rounds to beat Stipe? I don’t know that he can.
“And it’s very disrespectful to Stipe once you have a look at all the fellows he has crushed, it’s very disrespectful that he’s the underdog. However once more, once you see Ngannou simply destroying folks, you perceive it and also you get it. I don’t need to be on the unsuitable facet of both of those guys [laughs].
“I don’t need Ngannou coming after me. He’s received to be the scariest man on the planet! I do know that if I needed to struggle one in all them I’d in all probability choose Stipe simply because Ngannou scares the s*** out of me. However I’ll go together with the champ. You’ll be able to’t disrespect him like that.”
Tom Aspinall, UFC heavyweight
“Factor is with Ngannou, when you can survive 25 minutes with out getting hit clear off him, you’re doing rather well.
“And Stipe has already accomplished that, however to go one other 25 minutes with out getting hit clear that’s an enormous ask, I really feel.
“I’m nonetheless going to go Stipe. He beat him as soon as and he broke him that first time, I really feel. So when you break somebody, I believe you are able to do it once more.”
Derrick Lewis, UFC heavyweight, who defeated Ngannou
“Hopefully Francis wins, it might be nice if Francis wins. I don’t actually care, I’m simply making an attempt to provide you a politically appropriate reply. I simply hope Francis wins. I don’t know why! They’re in my division and I don’t like none of them!
Tyron Woodley, former UFC welterweight champion
“I used to be simply within the health club with Ngannou and he was engaged on some single leg, I grabbed his leg and his energy and his energy… he doesn’t even realise how f****** robust he’s. He don’t get it.
“He’s like ‘oh, what if I do that to you’ [acts out Ngannou palming his face]. One, don’t try this to me! Two, I don’t know what I’d do as a result of I by no means felt no one simply mush my face and make me really feel like my nostril goes to interrupt.
“Stipe is a G. He’s an underrated heavyweight, he’s an underrated fighter. I simply keep in mind when each he and I have been petitioning for that title shot and we checked out one another like we each know we’re on the prime, we each know we’re getting handed up and once we get the possibility we’re going to show up, and that’s what occurred.
“So I’m by no means going to root in opposition to Stipe. I do like Ngannou, particularly a few of his current interviews telling his life story. You begin tugging at your coronary heart strings they usually’re going to journey for you! I’m simply going to observe that struggle to observe it and hope each guys come out harm free with a hell of a payday.”
Kamaru Usman, UFC welterweight champion
“I do know in these previous couple of moments, these are a few of the largest issues to us — asking ourselves if we’re worthy sufficient to be champion.
“If we’re worthy sufficient to be recognised by the world based mostly on the place we come from as a result of we’ve by no means seen anybody the place we come from attain the heights that we’re making an attempt to succeed in.
“So, that’s one of many largest issues I deliver to Francis. Letting him know that he has a brother who’s accomplished it that’s in his nook and letting him know that he can do it as nicely.”