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In the Moment with David Greene

Religion of Sports | PRX

The most adrenaline-charged, fist-pumping moments in sports happen in the blink of an eye for fans. But those moments are years in the making for athletes. And the impact of them can last a lifetime.

In the Moment is a new podcast from the people who brought you Man in the Arena. Every Tuesday, host David Greene takes you inside the mind of an athlete at a pivotal moment in their career. David combines his experience as the former host of NPR’s Morning Edition with the passion of a diehard sports fan to relive some of the biggest moments in sports.

From Religion of Sports and PRX.

2021, 2022

The most adrenaline-charged, fist-pumping moments in sports happen in the blink of an eye for fans. But those moments are years in the making for athletes. And the impact of them can last a lifetime.

In the Moment is a new podcast from the people who brought you Man in the Arena. Every Tuesday, host David Greene takes you inside the mind of an athlete at a pivotal moment in their career. David combines his experience as the former host of NPR’s Morning Edition with the passion of a diehard sports fan to relive some of the biggest moments in sports.

From Religion of Sports and PRX.

2021, 2022

UFC’s Francis Ngannou: “Becoming a heavyweight champion was …. my own revenge on my life.”

Thumbnail for "UFC’s Francis Ngannou: “Becoming a heavyweight champion was …. my own revenge on my life.”".
October 4, 202238min 50sec

When MMA fighter, Francis Ngannou, stepped into the octagon to take on then-UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, he wasn’t just trying to win the title. Ngannou was on a mission to prove himself to the world.

“Life threw me a lot of punches,” Ngannou told In the Moment’s David Greene. “Life put me down and made people doubt me.”

Ngannou spent years of his life trying to put that doubt behind him. He grew up in the mountains of western Cameroon and started working in the sand mines when he was just 9-years-old. He said he would be thrown out of school for not having basic necessities like paper or pen. From a young age, he was determined to leave Cameroon to overcome the poverty he was born into.

It took another decade for him to realize his lifelong ambition. On March 27, 2021, in his second bout with Miocic, Ngannou knocked him out just 52 seconds into the second round. (Watch the full fight.) He says the victory was “my own revenge on my life, on my childhood.”

Ngannou doesn’t want young Cameroonians to attempt the same dangerous journey he did, but he wants to help them succeed. He’s opened a youth gym in his home village and is planning two others.

“The main goal of it was just to empower those kids,” he said. “To make them believe in themselves, because growing up out there, having a dream was very hard.”

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