7DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 02: Francis Ngannou of France (R) battles Alistair Overeem of the Netherlands (L) during UFC 218 at Little Ceasars Arena on December 2, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

For a while there, it looked like heavyweight slugger Francis Ngannou was going to be the man.

In his climb to the top, he was taking out dudes like a cement-fisted assassin. Curtis Blaydes, Allistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski… everyone was stepping up and falling. And then Ngannou challenged champ Stipe Miocic for the belt, falling short after five long rounds of battle.

This weekend, in China, Ngannou rematches with Blaydes in the main event of UFC Fight Night 141. It’s not really an eagerly-anticipated rematch. But Ngannou sucks now – he apparently gave everything he had to beating Miocic – and he’s got nothing left. So facing Blaydes is quite possibly meant to be a “win-able” fight so Ngannou can get back on track… or it’s another nail in the coffin.

Here’s Ngannou beating up Blaydes in their first fight.

Nowadays, when Ngannou fights, it’s as if the best version of him died in that cage against the champ. Instead, we get the sucky version – the one who fought and lost to Derrick Lewis afterwards.

It’s not Ngannou’s fault. Not entirely, at least. The UFC needed a star in the heavyweight division, needed some heat and someone to get fans excited, and Ngannou got the push.

Too bad it was too much, too soon.