Francis Ngannou to be Present at UFC 261- Will Corner Kamaru Usman

Published 04/16/2021, 12:21 AM EDT
PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 16: Kamaru Usman of Nigeria celebrates after knocking out Sergio Moraes of Brasil in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside the PPG Paints Arena on September 16, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman recently revealed to ESPN that he’ll be having the newly minted UFC heavyweight champion in his corner. Usman will take on Jorge Masvidal in one of the biggest rematches of the year at UFC 261.

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Francis Ngannou will step to the plate for ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ as Usman’s brother will be unable to corner him. Chiefly, Usman was in Ngannou’s corner for his fight against Stipe Miocic and ‘The Predator’ is returning the favor.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JANUARY 16: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman interacts with the media during the UFC 246 Ultimate Media Day at UFC APEX on January 16, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Both the African stars have grown close to each other as of late, with their shared heritage playing a role. Usman revealed that Francis Ngannou was a massive inspiration to him, and it would serve him well to have the Cameroonian in his corner. Hence, it’s clear that there’s plenty of admiration and respect on both sides of the equation.

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“Who better to replace someone like that than with the heavyweight champ himself, Francis Ngannou? “It motivates me so much,” Usman said. “I said that to him. It motivates me so much to even just be around him.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 27: Francis Ngannou of Cameroon reacts after his victory over Stipe Miocic in their UFC heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 260 event at UFC APEX on March 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Francis Ngannou is the most recent entrant into the winner’s circle, as there are now three African-born UFC champions. The trio has a huge fan following in the sport, and the UFC will potentially look to bring a show to Africa.

Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal 1- An Overview

The first fight took place back in July at UFC 251 after Gilbert Burns fell out with just six days left. Masvidal stepped in for ‘Durinho’ and made a run at becoming the undisputed welterweight champion. However, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ had other plans and stood his ground against the ‘BMF’.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Jorge Masvidal battles Kamaru Usman in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

From heavy clinch action to foot stomps, Usman used all the tricks in the book to neutralize Masvidal’s striking threat. ‘Gamebred’ found himself rather depleted as the fight wore on, as the short-notice booking took its toll. Now, the BMF will look to utilise a full camp to make good on his goal of becoming a champion.

The rematch will go down with 15,000 roaring UFC fans in attendance at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Will Francis Ngannou’s presence prove decisive in derailing ‘Gamebred’?

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Darryl Pinto

1760 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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