When Francis Ngannou fought Stipe Miocic for the first time, he was on an absolute tear. Knocking opponent after opponent out cold, with breathtaking power. He walked into the fight with all the confidence in the world, and he was absolutely smothered by Stipe’s wrestling. In a little over a month, he’ll get his rematch, but has he improved enough to win?

Though Ngannou is 34 years old, he’s very new to the sport. He only started training in it less than 8 years ago.

Clearly, he’s a very fast learner, so in three years there is a lot that could have been done. There is absolutely no way that he has become a better wrestler than Stipe, but he could have improved his takedown defense enough to keep the fight on the feet.

UFC/ZUFFA

In terms of in the octagon, we’ve seen nothing different. All of his wins have been knockouts. But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t improved. He just hasn’t had to use his new skills. According to Francis, he has been working on his wrestling since that fight, but he believes that there was another factor.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 2: (L) Francis Ngannou punches Alistair Overeem during the UFC 218 event at Little Caesars Arena on December 2, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

On Joe Rogan’s podcast a couple days ago, Francis said that he believes his lack of experience with longer fights led to the loss. As none of his fights before that had gone past the second round, this is a very revelant point. Again, he feels like this is something that he now knows how to work on and has improved on.

Because of Ngannou’s power, he always has a chance to win, and Stipe Miocic is getting older.

I certainly believe that Francis has worked on his wrestling and stamina, but we won’t know if it’ll be enough until the fight. Even if he can keep it on the feet, Stipe is no bum there either. At the end of the day, we will have to see, but there is no denying that Ngannou has earned his right to another crack at the title.

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