Coach Fernand Lopez Says Francis Ngannou Will Reflect And Come Back Stronger
Rash decisions can be made following a high profile defeat, but that’s not going to be the case for Francis Ngannou and his coach Fernand Lopez.
Ngannou lost to Stipe Miocic in his first ever UFC heavyweight title fight and suffered only the second defeat of his career. Speaking with MMANytt.com today, Lopez updated us on the status of fighter four days removed from the fight.
“Francis is physically fine and free from injury, but of course, in his heart and in his head he’s broken and devastated by the loss,” Lopez said. “Of course, he will still need one month to stay home because it was a hard fight. You can never learn more than from that sort of fight. He will learn so much information and he can take a lot away from this experience.”
“I’m letting him think about it by himself right now. We haven’t talked a lot about the fight yet. He went back to Vegas and I’ve come back to Paris. We’ve talked a lot about other things, but not about the fight. I really want him to digest what’s happened, recover, think, and then we will have the discussion. I think that’s the best thing to do. All the choices he makes from this point will be decisive in the rest of his career.”
Where Ngannou goes next is yet to be determined and Lopez and his student are taking time to reflect on the past week. One thing the MMA Factory boss hasn’t been best pleased with though is some of the critics that have tried twisting the knife since the loss.
“There’s no plan for right now,” Lopez said. “We have to just understand what happened in the fight now. Now is the time to rest and thinking. I think Francis is going to come back to Paris in a few days to talk and we will go from there. Everytime there is a win, no questions are asked about his camp or anything like that and we just get praise. As soon as we have a loss, people are looking for someone to blame and it’s coming at me. I’m taking my time and I don’t want to rush.
“People question why he went from Vegas back to Paris for his camp, but he won 13 fights training at the MMA Factory, in France. He never had any problems, but now people are questioning why he came back, but that’s stupid. It’s crazy. The guy had a very good camp in Vegas and the guys did an amazing job. He trained the striking with Dewey Cooper and he trained the ground game with Vinny Magalhaes.
“He then decided to come to Paris where we fixed the gameplan and we’re very good at that. We’re known for having some of the smartest strategies in MMA. They call us strategy people. Having people questioning our camp isn’t fair. The two weeks Francis spent here was only on the strategy and the gameplan. The gameplan was the opposite of what happened in the cage and Francis said that to the media and in the press conference. He underestimated his opponent and that’s maybe why he abandoned the gameplan and decided to try to finish the fight right away.”
With that all said, Lopez is now looking ahead to the future and he says that both he and Ngannou will be back better than ever having gone through the experience.
“Now it’s all about thinking about the loss, reflecting on it and coming back with a better mindset and a better way forward for the camp. We will be back stronger.”