During UFC Fight Night 217, Francis Ngannou finally announced that negotiations had fallen apart. The UFC would not be retaining him as a fighter in their roster. Let alone as the Heavyweight Champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Dana White made public the decision at the post-event press conference on Sunday.
Dana Frees Francis Ngannou From The UFC
Alongside the big news that “The Predator” Ngannou will no longer be the UFC Heavyweight Champion. During the press conferences, Dana White added that the MMA fight that was arranged for Francis against Jon “Bones” Jones for a mega pay-per-view event will now be happening against Cyril Gane to crown a new Heavyweight Champion. On the 5th of March at UFC 282, the Heavyweight title will be decided.
“We’ve been negotiating with [Ngannou] for more than two years,” White said. “We offered Francis a deal that would’ve made him the highest-paid heavyweight in the history of the company – more than [Brock] Lesnar, more than anybody, and he turned the deal down.
“Francis is in a place now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risks. He feels like he’s in a position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money, so we’re going to let him do that and release him from our contract. He can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants.”
Francis Sizes Up Boxing
Francis Ngannou has spoken in detail about the release since Sunday. He defended himself in the MMA Hour, saying:
“Yes, I still want to achieve something in boxing and I want to stay in MMA as well. I discovered MMA first in my life and I feel like I have some mileage to give in my sport. In a perfect world, I go out there get some boxing match then get some MMA, depending on the challenges that are out there.”
“If they are out there, I want to fight the top guys in boxing. I don’t know, I think Fury has retired and come back. I don’t know where Fury is right now, but now it is time. Before, we could not do anything concrete beyond social media stuff. Whatever it is, if it is with Tyson Fury, I will take it. I have no problem doing boxing with 4oz gloves, we will figure it out. Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua would be my first ideal opponent.”
And further, still he spoke on his own YouTube Channel (below), saying:
“…The UFC contract can be restrictive and as an independent contractor you don’t really have a say in that contract you don’t even have rights so I can’t do that (renegotiate my contract)…”
“…So there’s not really a lot of things that you want or you can do when you are in that contract they decide for you. I signed my last contract in December 2017. Even at the time, I knew it wasn’t a good contract but I knew I had to earn my position and become a champion. To have more value to negotiate a better deal for myself, I need to add more value to myself. That’s what I’ve been doing in the past five years…”
“…I want to start doing some boxing first before stepping into MMA. Because regardless I still have so much excitement and so much love for MMA that I feel like I haven’t delivered everything regarding MMA. But I also want to do some boxing matches. So yes, maybe explore a possibility to do one box in March and come back into MMA with another organization promotion…”
The Predator Vs The Gypsy King Vs AJ
Ngannou believes he is the man that can dethrone the boxing champion, particularly given his explosive punch power, which saw him rise to the pinnacle of the division in the UFC. Fury would go into any contest as the huge favorite given his experience in the ring, having yet to be defeated as a professional.
But Tyson Fury believes that any fight would likely be a toe-to-toe firefight given the one-punch power Ngannou has displayed in his career.
“Yeah, he is definitely a machine that is for sure,” Fury told ESPN of Ngannou. “He is definitely a good puncher and all that and, let’s face it, it isn’t a wrestling match or no grabbing or anything.
“It is just a stand-up punching battle with small gloves on. He has got big power and so do I, so whoever lands first is likely to get knocked out. So, as I say, I am certainly interested in that. Bring it on, big boy – you wouldn’t last a round.”
Regardless of making it to the infamous “Doesn’t Want To Fight List”, Francis seems to have big plans for the future. Will Francis join with PFL (Professional Fighting League) or will he first enter the ring against the Boxing Heavyweights? All that and more is still to be decided. But no matter what Francis does, it will be a stunning knockout and RDX Sports will be there to cover it all.