Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou recently caught the attention of MMA fans as a video of a spirited sparring session with kickboxing star Cedric Doumbe resurfaced.
Ngannou, hailing from a small village in Cameroon, embarked on a remarkable journey to France, where he set his sights on a career in combat sports. It was in France that he crossed paths with the renowned coach Fernand Lopez and joined the MMA Factory.
During his time at the MMA Factory, Ngannou struck up a friendship with the multi-time kickboxing champion, Cedric Doumbe. The camaraderie between the two is apparent, and their bond was further solidified when footage of their sparring session surfaced on social media several months ago.
Although it was a sparring session, Ngannou and Doumbe exhibited their striking prowess in a captivating exchange. Their dynamic encounter showcased their skills as they weaved around the mat, even briefly interrupting other pairs engaged in their own sparring sessions. Ngannou even unleashed his trademark Superman punch, leaving fans in awe of their chemistry.
Francis Ngannou’s departure from the UFC made headlines as he sought new opportunities beyond the promotion. The 37-year-old is slated to enter the boxing ring against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on October 28, in a highly anticipated showdown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But that’s not all; Ngannou also inked a deal with the rapidly ascending MMA organization, the PFL.
On the flip side, Cedric Doumbe transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2021 after a stellar kickboxing career boasting an impressive record of 75 wins, 7 losses, and 1 draw. The 31-year-old French fighter has made an undefeated start to his MMA journey, racking up five victories.
Doumbe recently made his debut in the PFL, delivering a jaw-dropping knockout against Jordan Zébo just nine seconds into the first round. However, his victory was marred by controversies surrounding his coach, Fernand Lopez. It appears that Doumbe may no longer be affiliated with MMA Factory.
Yet, his friendship with Francis Ngannou remains unshaken. In a recent interview with The MMA Hour, Doumbe expressed confidence that their presence in the PFL will bring about significant change.
He also critiqued the UFC’s decision not to sign him and for releasing Ngannou, stating, “[The UFC] did what they did, they messed up. Now I’m part of the PFL. For me, the PFL is the future. They’re doing very well. We’ve got Francis [Ngannou] now. He’s part of the team. I’m part of the future. We are changing something, we are doing something great, so I didn’t even think about [the UFC].” Doumbe emphasized, “I think I’m the best. [The UFC] lost something. No, PFL earned something.”