Francis Ngannou and UFC met before heavyweight champion departed for Cameroon

Francis Ngannou

Last month at UFC 270, the heavyweight championship was on the line. Francis Ngannou (17-3) was defending his title against the interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-1). While there were so many storylines surrounding the fight, one that stood out was Ngannou’s contract situation. 

The UFC’s heavyweight champion was fighting on the last fight of his current contract. Now, with the promotion’s champion’s clause, Ngannou was obligated to stay with the UFC through the end of 2022 regardless should he have won the fight.

Ngannou also was fighting on a torn MCL and damaged ACL which we now know will require surgery repair. With all of these outside distractions going on, Ngannou still made the walk at UFC 270 to defend his title.

Now, he didn’t look the same in the fight. You could tell his injury had him compromised. That said, he was able to turn to his wrestling and he was able to defeated the previously unbeaten Ciryl Gane.

After retaining his UFC title, all the attention turned to his contract situation. There had been some verbal back-and-forth between the champ’s camp and the UFC. However, we now know that there might be a little light at the end of the tunnel.

UFC and Ngannou Met

Francis Ngannou is currently enjoying his victory tour and is visiting his homeland of Cameroon. However, we learned from Dana White at the UFC 271 pre-fight press conference that the promotion and Ngannou met for dinner just before he departed.

While White didn’t go into details, the conversation was said to have been positive. The fact that both sides sat down and broke bread is a huge step in the right direction especially with the oddness of the way things ended at UFC 270. 

Obviously, there’s still a long ways to go, but there’s plenty of time. When Ngannou returns, he will be getting surgery on his knee. With that surgery, he likely won’t fight until the end of the year or in early 2023.

I almost can guarantee the UFC will make an interim title while he’s out. Perhaps one with Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic which would setup a massive fight for Ngannou upon his return to the octagon.

One thing that could also help Ngannou is Israel Adesanya. Adesanya just resigned with the UFC and signed a massive extension. He made a point to say that he wants his new contract to help other fighters especially for his close friend, Francis Ngannou.

All in all, I think a deal between the two sides will get done. I think you’ll see more positive momentum with the UFC upon Ngannou’s return, but negotiations can still take a while and like I said, with Ngannou’s injury, there’s no rush.