There is a constant discussion so far about which wrestlers will represent the next crop of notable crossover stars from the UFC. Longtime commentator Joe Rogan sees heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou as someone with that potential.
Ngannou (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) picked up one of the most memorable knockouts of the year at UFC 218 this past weekend when he put former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem (46-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC) to sleep with a brutal end in one fell swoop. The performance kept "The Predator" undefeated in the UFC and prepared him for a title shot against champion Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC).
UFC champion Stipe Miocic – the least favored? It is against Francis Ngannou
Fighters come and go in sport, but Ngannou's skill, attitude and anguished history as an African immigrant make him a more attractive package than most. It remains to be seen if that translates into mainstream attention with continued success, but Rogan said in today's edition of his podcast "JRE MMA Show" that he sees Ngannou with all the potential.
"Now they have a star," Rogan said. "I think Ngannou, one or two more fights, you'll be watching Mike Tyson days, that's what I think, you're going to see fights just to see how long these mothers can survive (expletives) against this guy, that's what I think. That could be your big rising star. "
Francis Ngannou is getting an extra bonus check, and he's using it on UFC champion Stipe Miocic
. Currently, the UFC is in a phase of uncertainty when it comes to their biggest names. Ronda Rousey is almost retired, Jon Jones can not stay away from problems and Georges St-Pierre is dealing with health complications. The promotions draw, Conor McGregor, could never fight again, according to UFC president Dana White.
Add all that, and Ngannou has a real chance on his hands.
"Conor, who knows if he'll ever go to fight again," said Rogan. "We really do not know." We have not heard Conor say: "This is my plan." This is who I'm thinking about fighting. This is who I want to fight with. "He's been talking (expletive) with Max Holloway, he's been talking (expletive) with Tony Ferguson, but he has not set it up. "
For full coverage of UFC 218, check the UFC Events section of the site.