Francis Ngannou was born and raised in the village of Batié, West Region, Cameroon. He had little formal education and at 12 years old, Ngannou started working in a sand quarry in Batié because of a lack of funds. As a youngster, Ngannou decided to use his father’s negative reputation as a street fighter as motivation to do something positive and pursue boxing.
At the age of 22, Ngannou began training in boxing, despite reluctance from his family in the beginning. After training for a year, Ngannou stopped training due to an illness.He did various odd jobs to make ends meet, until at the age of 26, he emigrated to Paris,France to pursue professional boxing. After Ngannou reached Paris, he had no money, no friends and no place to live. After living homeless on the streets of Paris, he began training for free in August 2013 under Didier Carmont. Being a fan of Mike Tyson, Ngannou was originally interested in learning how to box until his coach introduced him to the sport of MMA.
Ngannou made his promotional debut against fellow newcomer Luis Henrique on 19 December 2015 at UFC.