MMAjunkie.com | DETROIT – Francis Ngannou didn’t get an official UFC 218 fight-night bonus, but he’s been promised some extra cash, and he knows exactly how he’s going to use it.
In Saturday’s UFC 218 pay-per-view co-headliner at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) blasted fellow heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem (43-16 MMA, 8-5 UFC) with a violent fight-ending punch early in the first round.
After the victory, which had social media buzzing, UFC President Dana White confirmed Ngannou gets reigning heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) next.
When does Ngannou, who entered UFC 218 as the No. 9-ranked fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, want the fight with No. 1 Miocic to happen?
“As soon as possible,” Ngannou said after the event. “I’m injury-free, so I’m ready to go. I’ve been out a long time (before UFC 218) – like 10 months – and now I want to (fight again).”
Despite his powerful knockout win, Ngannou didn’t receive a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus. Instead, the UFC handed out four “Fight of the Night” bonuses (to Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira).
White, though, said Ngannou will get an unofficial one. After all, Ngannou has set up camp at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, which is just a short walk to White’s office.
“Trust me, Francis lives at the Performance Institute, and I don’t need him knocking on my (expletive) door looking for his bonus,” White joked when asked by MMAjunkie. “We’ll get him situated.”
White didn’t say how much the bonus might be, Ngannou already has it earmarked for a few things, including his camp for Miocic.
“I have a thousand things to do in MMA,” said Ngannou, who plans to open a gym for kids in his native Cameroon. “I’m going to do a good training camp because Stipe is a champ. He’s a good guy. He’s doing well, so I need to prepare and have a good training camp.
“I’ll probably also go to Paris for a while and do some of my training camp there. I’ll go to Cameroon and visit my family and keep helping them too.”
When he was told White has promised to give him an unofficial bonus, Ngannou was relieved.
“That’s a good thing,” he said. “I do need that money. I moved from Paris to Vegas, so that took a lot of money. I need some money now. And I was out for 10 months.
“And to be honest, every one of you guys loves money too.
As for a prediction, Ngannou, a 31-year-old Cameroonian who eventually fled to Paris and took up MMA training just five years ago, opted to keep it simple.
“The fight between me and Stipe, it will go the same way as the other ones – knockout,” he said.
As for after Miocic, Ngannou goals remain just as lofty.
“First of all, I want to be the first African to have a UFC belt,” he said. “I want to be the one to open the UFC in Africa, basically in Cameroon. I want Cameroon to be the first country in Africa to (host) the UFC. It’d be good. It’d be honor for me.”
And while a victory over combat-sports legend Overeem is a big one, Ngannou said it’s the biggest one of his career.
“The biggest win of my career is coming,” he said.
For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in Detroit.)