Francis Ngannou details knee injury prior to UFC 270 title defense: ‘Everything was designed for me to fall and collapse’

 Ngannou v Gane
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou provided more details about his knee injury heading into his UFC 270 title defense against Ciryl Gane.

Ngannou, who is currently in the middle of a contract dispute with the promotion, revealed that he tore his ACL and MCL four weeks prior to his unanimous decision victory over Gane in January. “The Predator” underwent surgery in March and is on the road to recovery — potentially for a March date with former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, which MMA Fighting reported in October on numerous programs, although the bout is nowhere near being done.

In regards to the knee injury, Ngannou opened up about it on his Road 2 Recovery series on his YouTube channel.

“Everything was designed for me to fall and collapse — you know, not to come back. That was it,” Ngannou said. “That was how it was designed. Like, ‘OK, that’s how it’s going to be, let’s go.’

“The injury happened on Dec. 28, exactly three days after Christmas.”

Ngannou’s head coach Eric Nicksick said that a fighter he wasn’t fully familiar with from Germany stepped up to spar the champion. Despite some trepidation, the session went on before the moment occurred that put the fight with Gane in jeopardy.

“We were sparring and I think he got overwhelmed,” Ngannou explained. “He shot a [desperation] takedown, and when I tried to turn around, I heard the crack on my knee. Right at that moment when you hear that on your knee, you know that something is happening.

“I was so warmed up that I couldn’t feel it, exactly, but I knew something [was] going on. I was hoping that maybe it was just a bad feeling.”

A little over two weeks before UFC 270, Ngannou would do whatever it took to improve his condition — including receiving stem cell treatments.

While the outlook was dire, Ngannou wouldn’t allow himself to pull out of the fight — even though he couldn’t do much, if anything, physically.

“I was willing to do anything possible for me to heal a little bit,” Ngannou said. “I wasn’t expecting to [fully] heal up. I wasn’t expecting some magical solution to resolve the injury, but I was just hoping to get a little bit better, as much as possible.

“Technically, I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t allowed to do anything where I had to pivot with striking, or anything where I would have to take a chance.”