I’m So Torn! Stipe…or Francis??

What a matchup…

This may be the greatest heavyweight match-up put together by the UFC in years, and the first one I’ve been genuinely excited to see since maybe Cain vs Werdum. In that fight, we saw who was once a potential candidate for the greatest heavyweight of all time in Cain, and a Cinderella story in Werdum. As a UFC fan, I do love a good storyline, and much like those of Cain Velazquez and Fabricio Werdum, the storylines associated with Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou are so compelling that I find it so hard to root against either man. The thing is…who the hell do I root for?

Part of me wants to root for Stipe because he’s such a working class hero, and remarkably down to earth when compared to his fellow UFC champions (save for Demetrious Johnson). He’s a true champion who built his way up to the top of the division, taking a couple losses on the chin and subsequently steamrolling contenders en route to his title fight with Fabricio Werdum, in which he made a statement to the world that he was the rightful owner of the title, “Baddest Man on the Planet”. His defense of the title from Alistair Overeem, coupled with the fact that he doubles as a firefighter outside of his fight career, makes me such a huge fan of his that I can’t imagine how I’d feel if he were to lose his belt. I want him to make history and set the record for most title defenses in HW history, and I truly believes he deserves recognition and a lasting, legendary legacy. On the other hand…

How can I not root for Francis Ngannou? In fact, how can ANYONE not be a fan of Ngannou after seeing what he has gone through up to this point? This man came from abject poverty, worked menial jobs with absolutely no one telling him that he could do more than what his environment expected of him. He decides to become a fighter at an age where most combat experts would deem him a senior citizen, and instead of crumbling as expected, decides to make his way into the UFC. All of a sudden, we have some new blood in the HW division, but who the hell is this guy anyway? Just another random addition to the somewhat shallow division, right? Is he going to make a splash? Well, I think we all know the answer to that question, considering he’s fighting for a title just 4 years into his professional MMA career. It would truly be the feelgood story of the MMA world if Francis made the impossible possible and defeated Miocic for the coveted belt. Whether you’re a fan of his or not, you’d have to agree that Ngannou would be an undoubtedly deserving and inspiring champion, and one who would put the entire division on its toes.

So here I am…still debating on who I want to root for tomorrow. Maybe they’ll fight to a draw, and it’ll give me some more time and analytical ammo to see who I’d root for afterward. Then again…that sounds pretty stupid. I have a feeling that someone is going to be finished, and I predict here and now that if it’s a Miocic victory, it’ll be by 3rd or 4th round submission. However, the only way I see Ngannou winning is by KO; I don’t see him being able to do anything in this fight if Stipe drags him to the ground, and Ngannou will need to end the fight in the 1st round. Either way, we’re in for a real treat here. Best of luck to both men. Whoever wins, the fans don’t lose.

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