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Features, Sports, Updates

Francis Ngannou Exit the UFC

Cameroon fighter Francis Ngannou formally relinquished the heavyweight championship of the UFC after becoming a free agent.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 23rd January 2023
Francis Ngannou

After becoming a free agent, Francis Ngannou of Cameroon formally relinquished the heavyweight championship of the UFC. Since he successfully defended his title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January 2022, the 36-year-old hasn’t competed inside the Octagon. According to UFC Stats, The Predator amassed a 17-3 record while competing for the company. He won the world title at UFC 260 in 2021 by defeating Stipe Miocic, and in his previous six fights, he had never lost.


The Beginning


Francis Ngannou is one of the most well-known and feared martial artists in the world, but  he didn’t have an easy journey to where he is today. The hefty fighter was born in Bati, Cameroon living with poor parents and lacked formal education. He was said to be scavenging for food in bins as a child, frequently “fighting” with rats for the scraps, in an interview with Joe Rogan.


The Exit 


Ngannou was negotiating a new deal with the UFC while undergoing surgery to repair a knee injury he incurred during a bout. The Predator frequently sent updates to fans on the status of the negotiations and was eager to fight in 2023, with a matchup against the anticipated returning Jon Jones as the most likely possibility. Dana White of the UFC claims that contract talks between Francis Ngannou and the organization fell through.


Francis Ngannou


According to Sky Sports, Dana White claimed that his side was unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension because Ngannou wanted to earn more money by competing against fewer opponents. According to  reports, talks between the two came to a standstill when the Cameroonian said he would no longer fight for $500,000 in compensation.


“I’ve told you guys this before – if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be,” White said, via ESPN MMA. “I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risk. We’re going to let him do that, release him from his contract and give up our right to match.” 


Another story states that the rift between ‘The Predator’ and UFC started sometime ago, with the Africa born fighter having always criticized the promotion for not giving appropriate paychecks to fighters.


The Implication


Ngannou has the option to sign with any promoter or martial arts organization as he is currently an unrestricted free agent. One among many organizations is the UFC. Among other places, PFL (Professional Fighters League) is a potential stop. Recent PFL signings include elite fighters like Jake Paul. PFL might also provide Ngannou the chance to fight Tyson Fury, who has been itching for the chance. Both men have the potential to set some pay-per-view records. Meanwhile, Ciryl Gané and Jon Jones will square off in March for Ngannou’s vacant UFC World Heavyweight championship

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