Francis Ngannou is a fighting phenom: the honorary “baddest man on the planet” as UFC heavyweight champion, and the fiercest puncher in the promotion’s history.
The French-Cameroonian’s professional mixed martial arts record is 16-3, while his UFC record is 11-2 since his debut in 2015 – with 10 of those wins by knockout or TKO.
Ngannou, 35, actually went 6-0 in the company, with five of those wins coming via KO/TKO and one via submission, before suffering back-to-back decision losses.
The first of those two losses was humbling for then-champion Stipe Miocic, but Ngannou came back to the American with four straight wins by KO/TKO in the first round, before knocking out Miocic in the second round last March to win gold. finally.
Ngannou’s first title defense will come in the main event of UFC 272 this month, against interim champion and former teammate Ciryl Gane. Ahead of this unification fight, here is a ranking of all of Ngannou’s UFC knockouts. All knockouts except No2 can be seen in the video below, while TKOs are not included.
10. vs. Curtis Blaydes – UFC Fight Night (April 2016) – 5:00 of Round 2
In all honesty, this is the one to avoid, as a TKO due to the doctor stopping between rounds. Ngannou puts enough punches on Blaydes over two rounds for the American’s eye to swell and impair his vision. As such, it is considered that Blaydes cannot continue. A believable victory for Ngannou, but not as emphatic as most on this list.
9. vs. Cain Velasquez – UFC Fight Night (February 2019) – 0:26 of Round 1
One of Ngannou’s four wins against a world champion or former world champion – all of which were achieved via KO/TKO. It’s the second fastest stoppage win of Ngannou’s entire pro MMA career, but it’s also the weirdest. Velasquez, back after nearly three years out, suffers a knee injury that sees the American slump to the canvas and bombard himself as Ngannou punches him until the fight is stopped. It looks like Ngannou could have tripped Velasquez in the first place with a punch, although it’s hard to say.
8. vs Bojan Mihajlovic – UFC Fight Night (July 2016) – 1:34 of Round 1
Ngannou lands two wide left hooks as a panicked Mihajlovic runs the length of the cage before falling to the mat. Mihajlovic momentarily tries to keep Ngannou at bay with low kicks, but the ‘Predator’ is undeterred and lands a series of clean hammer fists. He then pours punches as Mihajlovic bombs and referee Herb Dean steps in.
7. vs. Curtis Blaydes – UFC Fight Night (November 2018) – 0:45 of Round 1
In his second encounter with Ngannou, Blaydes fails to survive anywhere as long as in the first. Ngannou throws a clubbed right hook around the outside of the American’s jab, landing behind the ear and collapsing Blaydes. The wrestling specialist appears to be out briefly already, but he musters his senses just enough to attempt a one-legged takedown – to no avail. Blaydes tries to stand, while absorbing heavy punches from both sides, before referee Marc Goddard decides he’s seen enough (much to Blaydes’ disbelief…).
6. vs. Junior dos Santos – UFC Fight Night (June 2019) – 1:11 of Round 1
Dos Santos, despite all his experience, makes a huge mistake just a minute into this fight. The former champion engages heavily on an overhand right, and Ngannou leans back just enough to avoid it before catching JDS with a short right hook. Dos Santos turns and tries to run away but is held back by Ngannou, who drops the Brazilian with another hook before knocking him to the mat. Herb Dean quickly decides enough is enough.
5. vs. Andrei Arlovski – UFC Fight Night (January 2017) – 1:32 of Round 1
Ngannou’s first victory against a world champion or former world champion. The back-and-forth leans back to avoid a forehand from Arlovski, before countering with a winged right hook that seems to slightly peel off the Belarusian American. Arlovski then falls to the canvas and squirms as Ngannou immediately leaps up, pouring in massive punches to force a stoppage.
4. vs. Luis Henrique – UFC Fight Night (December 2015) – 2:53 of Round 2
An exciting start to Ngannou’s UFC career – start how you want to go. The beginner looks to force their way through or around Henrique’s guard with uppercuts and hooks, before one passes. It’s a left uppercut that does it, sending Henrique dramatically sprawling to the ground. Ngannou’s instinct is to follow his opponent to the mat and bring down a hammer fist, and the job is done.
3. vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik – UFC 249 (May 2020) – 0:20 of Round 1
It’s probably the least technical of Ngannou’s UFC knockouts, but it’s one of the most emphatic. Rozenstruik enters the fight undefeated at 10-0, with nine of those wins via KO/TKO. As such, it feels like this fight won’t last long and there’s a real risk that Ngannou could be knocked out, in what would be a new visual. Well, the first of those two ends up being true. There isn’t much of a feel process, with the heavyweights trading blows almost immediately.
Ngannou pushes forward with wild, winged punches as Rozenstruik backs off while trying to fight back. He even appears to catch Ngannou with a left hook, but milliseconds later he collapses under the same shot from his opponent. With “Bigi Boy” slumped limply against the fence, Ngannou adds a few more brutal punches and it’s all over. The sight of Ngannou shoving his opponent like that is frightening.
2. vs. Stipe Miocic – UFC 260 (March 2021) – 0:52 of Round 2
Three years after a humiliating decision loss by Miocic, who defeated Ngannou in five rounds while surviving the occasional punch in an absolute masterclass, the Franco-Cameroonian is getting his revenge. In an impressive first round, Ngannou shows a much improved takedown defense and also injures Miocic on his feet. In the second round, he drops the defending champion with a powerful blow to the back of a sort of reverse one-two. Miocic gets to his feet but eats an uppercut for his trouble, then manages to disengage briefly.
The American recklessly rushes into the pocket, where he is greeted by a counter left hook. He bends Miocic, whose body slumps to the mat sickeningly. Ngannou adds a hammer fist – just to be sure – before Herb Dean steps in. Ngannou is walking away calmly, as the new UFC heavyweight champion.
1. vs. Alistair Overeem – UFC 218 (December 2017) – 1:42 of Round 1
It’s essentially Ngannou’s hallmark, KO, the most brutally scenic of them all. In fact, it might just be the most viral knockout in UFC history. You’d swear Overeem’s head is sure to pop off his neck, the way his chin is propelled upward under the force of Ngannou’s devastating uppercut. What makes the finish even more impressive is how Ngannou first escapes a hook from Overeem, before using that escape as some sort of spring.
The “Predator” then turns back on its opponent, with the pair assisting with a vicious punch that immediately extinguishes Overeem’s lights. Still, Ngannou manages to put a signature hammer fist on his unconscious and grounded opponent before the referee intervenes.