Francis Ngannou annihilated Stipe Miocic with a brutal second-round knockout in their blockbuster rematch to become the UFC heavyweight champion.
Ngannou was outclassed by Miocic three years ago, the Cameroonian fighter unable to take the title away from his opponent at UFC 220 in 2018.
But Ngannou (16-3) exacted revenge on Saturday thanks to his brutal KO of the titleholder at UFC 260 in Las Vegas, where a new champion was crowned.
Ngannou earned another title shot following knockout wins against Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
The 34-year-old dethroned Miocic (20-4) inside the UFC Apex, where he had the American fighter in trouble early in the second round after dropping the champion with a two-punch combination.
Miocic – who was coming off a unanimous decision win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 242 last August – was left stunned after being swarmed with punches on the chin and Ngannou followed with a hammer fist on the ground as the referee waved off the fight.
Afterwards, Ngannou talked up a showdown with former champion Jon Jones.
“It’s a challenge that I’ll take and a very good fight on my resume,” Ngannou said post-fight.
“He’s the challenger, I am the champion so he’s looking for me. I’m ready to fight in July and August. Let’s do it.”
In the co-main event, Vicente Luque stunned former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who was forced into submission in the opening round.
It condemned Woodley to a fourth consecutive defeat as Luque earned the biggest win of his career.
“I want to take this time also to call out Nate Diaz,” Luque said. “I called him out in the past and he didn’t respond. My style, it matches perfect. I’m going to go forward. I think Nate is a perfect fight.”