The latest ESPN Cover Story featuring UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou debuted today across the network’s digital, linear and social platforms. ESPN Cover Story is the sports fan’s monthly ticket to the biggest stories on the most captivating athletes – told with inside access, bold reporting and unforgettable visuals.
The January edition tells the remarkable story of Ngannou’s journey to UFC stardom. It begins far from the Octagon, with the aspiring boxer from Cameroon attempting to reach asylum in Spain from Morocco. Throughout his journey, whenever he doubted himself, he repeated the words that kept him going, “Never underestimate somebody who has hope.” The piece also frequently returns to his childhood and his dream of going to America. Ngannou explains the impact of those around him who supported him – and those who doubted him.
Ngannou arrived in a Paris boxing gym, 10 weeks after boarding a Red Cross boat in the Strait of Gibraltar. The piece then chronicles Ngannou’s reluctant transition to MMA due to his gym closing for a month. It also examines how an early loss tugged at him. He couldn’t leave it undone and it fueled his passion and solidified his future in the sport, as well as his path to becoming the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Ahead of his title defense at UFC 270, Ngannou speaks with ESPN senior writer Tim Keown about the many experiences and aspects of his life outside of the Octagon that made him the champion he is today.
The ESPN Cover Story: Francis Ngannou video feature will air across SportsCenter throughout the day, along with a full digital package on the ESPN app and original storytelling across social.
More information on ESPN Cover Story can be found here.
Media Contacts: Michael Skarka [email protected]