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Francis Ngannou tells us which 'Predator' scene his nickname comes from

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It sounds like a BuzzFeed quiz: What “Predator” scene are you?

If you’re UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou, and you’ve taken a few moments out of your day concussing folks to blow off some steam on the internet, you know exactly how to answer.

You see, when Ngannou chose the nickname, it wasn’t wasn’t just a nod to his style. Of course, it was an homage to the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle.

But which one, you ask? There are so many to choose from. Some you probably quote on a semi-weekly basis.

There’s this:

And this:

And this:

“Yeah, no,” Ngannou recently told MMA Junkie Radio. “It’s when Arnold Schwarzenegger touches the leaf, and there was some green thing. It’s blood. And then he says, ‘If it’s bleeding, that means it could die.'”

Well, close enough. The actual line is, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.” And it’s an awesome line. But perhaps even more so in the context in which Ngannou uses it.

If we’re reading Ngannou right, this line is more than just a gruff promise to get revenge on the ol’ Predator. In that green alien blood is a realization of strength. When Arnie, Anna and the few commando buddies not chopped to shreds realize their enemy is mortal, they’re no longer the prey. They’re the predators. They’re doing the hunting. And that’s how they get themselves together and turn the tables, or at least try to with a net trap until that backfires when the Predator uses his blaster gun and Arnold tells everyone to get to the choppa’ and…I digress.

That’s one interpretation of that scene. But if you think about Ngannou’s upbringing, it makes sense. Nobody thought much of his dreams growing up in a small village in Cameroon. Everyone around him wanted him to be practical and, as he said, “face the truth.”

Ngannou didn’t want that. He didn’t want to work in the sand mines for the rest of his life. He loved Mike Tyson and boxing, and he had a vision of being a successful fighter, however impossible it seemed in that environment.

“I’m like, ‘At least I have to try,'” Ngannou said. “I have a right to fail. It’s what builds us. We fail and we learn from it. That was my mindset at the time.”

So when Ngannou realized he had the power to go after that dream, he stopped being a victim. He quit his job, moved to Paris and slept in a parking garage until he found someone who supported his dream. It took him a while to fulfill it, but one thing was clear: He was no longer anybody’s prey.

And just maybe that’s how a cheesy overblown action movie from 1987 became more than just a cool sounding nickname to Ngannou. Sure, we’re probably thinking about this entirely too hard. But if you’re looking for cool sports metaphors, you could do worse.

Now get to the choppa.

Ngannou (13-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), currently ranked No. 6 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA heavyweight rankings, returns in two weeks against former champion and No. 3-ranked Junior Dos Santos (21-5 MMA, 15-4 UFC) in the UFC on ESPN 3 main event. The show takes place June 29 at Target Center in Minneapolis and airs on ESPN.

For more on UFC on ESPN 3, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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