Francis Ngannou is a Cameroonian (by birth) athlete based in France. He was born on 5th September 1986 in Batié, Cameroon. Ngannou was said to have lived in poverty & had little formal education as he grew up.

At 10 years old, Ngannou was working in a sand Querey in Batié because his parents got divorced when he was six ,thus, he was sent to go live his aunt and there was limited funds.

Very young and seemingly having stregnth, the athlete was approached by lots of gangsters to join their group to do bad things but he refused and took upon himself to do something positive with his life by pursuing boxing.

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When he turned 22, though family hesitance, Ngannou started training as a boxer. He did this training for about a year & stopped due to a short illness. From there, he did different odd jobs to to make ends meet until 26. At 26,he made up his mind to become professional. That’s how he headed to Paris but was halted & imprisoned in Spain for 3 months due to illegal border cross.

He however reached at Paris but had no friends, food, money and lived in the streets of Paris for sometime till he began to train for free under Didier Carmont in August 2013. Ngannou was originally interested in boxing since he was a fan of Mike Tyson until his coach introduced him to the MMA

Talking about his journey & his decision to become an MMA fighter, Nahonnou said :

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“When I started, I had nothing. Nothing. I needed everything. But when you start [to earn money], you starting collecting things: I want this, I want this, I want that. The purpose is not collecting things, though. The purpose is to do something great. Finish the dream you started.

I want to help my family, first, of course, but then I want to give opportunity to children in my country like me who have a dream to become a doctor or something. If I reach my dream, it will give me the opportunity to help those in my country who have their own dreams and nothing else to fulfill them.

I want to give some opportunity for children like me who dream of this sport and don’t have an opportunity like me. The last time I was in Cameroon, I brought a lot of materials for boxing and MMA to open a gym. Now I just bought a big space to start the gym, as well.

A lot of children now in Cameroon, because of me, they have a dream. They say, ‘I will be a champion in MMA. I will do boxing like Francis,’ because they saw me when I was young. I didn’t have anything. I didn’t have any opportunity. And today, they see me, and they are dreaming. They are thinking that something is possible. Even when they are so poor, something is possible in life. … It’s not easy. It’s so hard, but it’s possible.