Gilbert Burns once “popped” Ngannou’s arm during BJJ

Former UFC champion Francis Ngannou has undergone a remarkable evolution in his MMA journey. Initially recognized for his striking abilities, Ngannou has now transformed into a well-rounded mixed martial artist.

Ngannou had put a lot of effort into strengthening his grappling, which was a weakness Miocic had revealed in their first bout. His improvement was seen in his performance later against Ciryl Gane and his second bout with Miocic.

Renowned welterweight contender Gilbert Burns acknowledged his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess. He shared a compelling story recounting his past grappling experience with Ngannou.

At the time, Burns was receiving training at the Blackzillians gym. Burns recalled a gripping moment where he secured an armbar on Ngannou, causing his arm to pop.

Despite the intense situation, Ngannou displayed composure and sportsmanship.

Burns said on the JAXXON podcast: “I trained with him before, he didn’t like it… We were still at Blackzillians, so it was five years ago maybe. And we grappled hard, and I got his arm and he didn’t tap and I popped his arm! I was so afraid, I said, ‘Oh my God.’ This guy’s gonna kill me now! But he was cool about it.”

The recent ‘Day of Reckoning’ boxing card headlined by Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder grabbed Ngannou’s attention. Joshua’s win over Otto Wallin via TKO in Round 7 and Wilder’s unexpected defeat to Joseph Parker via unanimous decision interested Ngannou.

Expressing a keen interest in exploring boxing further, Ngannou hinted at potential matchups with both Joshua and Wilder.

Observing Wilder’s performance, Ngannou revealed his interest in facing him.

He wrote on X: “Licking my lips after watching this fight.”

However, Francis Ngannou expressed interest in maybe competing against Anthony Joshua in a squared circle as well, writing: “Great performance tonight AJ .. #NgannouJoshua”

It doesn’t seem like Ngannou’s desire for competitive boxing has diminished. It looks like he wants to compete in another boxing bout before returning to MMA, even though he is anticipated to make his PFL debut the following year.