Francis Ngannou Looking To Inspire Young Generation Of Cameroon To Believe In Themselves
Francis Ngannou takes on Stipe Miocic this weekend for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 220 and he’s fighting for more than just a belt.
Born in Cameroon, Ngannou had a tough upbringing in conditions most couldn’t even imagine and he worked in a sand quarry to support his family at the age of just 12-years-old. Having escaped to Paris to pursue a boxing career, Ngannou was persuaded into trying MMA by MMA Factory owner Fernand Lopez. With just 3 days to go until he fights for the UFC title, Ngannou spoke about how difficult things were growing up and how it’s important to him that he inspires the young generation back home.
“Inspiring people, that is something that is very important for me,” Ngannou said. “Why!? Because where I’m from, the problem for the young people there is hope, they don’t have hope. They say they’ve felt like this before they were born, before they’ve even seen the light or the sky for the first time in their life. They just feel like everything is over for them.
“I had this problem when I was there and dreaming big. I had that problem because people around there, they don’t allow themselves to dream. If you’re different and do have big dreams, someone will come along and say it’s wrong.”
Ngannou sees his title opportunity as the perfect way to prove to people back home they can also achieve great things. He now wants to prove that they can also go on to achieve big things and be just as successful as he has been.
“Today, I start to see how things are changing and I’m starting to see people believe and trust in themselves,” Ngannou said. “They now believe something is possible. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. You can believe something and you can try to give it all and become something.
“When I see things are changing, that is what I really want to bring, to increase that and make it bigger and bigger.”