2018 will mark 25 years since the UFC was first created, and the promotion is planning on celebrating the anniversary all year long. UFC's first pay-per-view of the year, UFC 220 on January 20 at the TD Garden in Boston, has the potential to kick off the new celebrations with a bang.
UFC 220 features two main event fights that look awesome. One of them is a UFC Light Heavyweight Championship bout between current champion Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir. The other is UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic defending his title against Francis Ngannou, which is expected to headline.
Many people are excited for the Heavyweight Championship fight because of the knockout power of Ngannou. In his last fight at UFC 218 at the start of the month, the Cameroonian knocked out Alistair Overeem via punches in the first round. It was this knockout that earned him a title fight.
Speaking to the media this week, Dana White described the punching power of Ngannou, saying: "Francis is a guy that has the world record for the most powerful punch. His punch is the equivalent of 96 horsepower, which is equal to getting hit by a Ford Escort as fast as it can (go), and it's more powerful than a 12-pound sledgehammer being swung from overhead."
The UFC president only needed a two-word reaction to Ngannou's punching power. "Holy s**t."
Miocic shouldn't be ignored, however, as he has knockout power too. Five of his last six fights have ended in some form of knockout. The American paid tribute to the Cameroonian's abilities inside of the Octagon during UFC 220’s press conference in Las Vegas on Friday.
“Francis is an amazing fighter,” Miocic said, via Bloody Elbow. “He’s got great power, he’s very athletic, and he’s a big heavyweight. He’s definitely showing it and that’s why he’s here.”
When asked about The Predator's brutal knockout finish over Overeem, the UFC Heavyweight Champion was once again polite towards his opponent.
The American said: “Good for him. He got the win. That’s an easy night. Those are the best nights when the fight is done early. You go home unscathed.”
Miocic was then asked if he’s intimidated by Ngannou, which resulted in the first verbal confrontation between the two, as the Cameroonian didn't agree with his answer.
The UFC Heavyweight Champion said: “No, that’s what I signed up for. Why would I be intimidated by another man? There’s a reason why I’m the champ.”
Ngannou interjected and said: “Don’t lie, Stipe,” then followed it up by saying: “I think he’ll try to survive. Whatever he’s going to try I’m going to catch it. And then I’m going to connect. You know what happens when I connect.”
Miocic vs Ngannou is going to be a very interesting fight, and if history is anything to go by, one of them could potentially to knock out the other thanks to their punching power. It's just a case of figuring out which one it is going to be. We'll find out at UFC 220.