Almost a year ago at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou (17-3) made the walk to the octagon with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was the heavyweight champion and he was fighting a former training partner for the most prestiges prize in mixed martial arts.
Not only that, he openly said that he wouldn’t fight another fight on his current UFC deal if he defeated Gane. Well, you know the story from here. Francis Ngannou defeated Ciryl Gane despite having a serious knee injury which required surgery to fix.
Following his knee surgery, the UFC and Ngannou began working on a new contract. Everything was lining up for Ngannou to face off against Jon Jones for the heavyweight title upon Ngannou’s return. However, for months, contract talks went no where.
Over the past month, talks seemed to be heading in the right direction. However, Dana White announced tonight that the UFC failed to come to terms with Ngannou and he was officially a free agent.
UFC champion walks away
The promotion announced that Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane would be fighting for the vacant heavyweight championship at UFC 285 on March 4th. White said that the offer the UFC made Ngannou would’ve made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the promotion.
White emphasized that the deal would’ve even paid Ngannou more than Brock Lesnar who is the greatest draw in heavyweight history. From here, the question will be, where does Francis Ngannou go? To be completely honest, I have no idea.
I have a really hard time believing that Bellator will pay Ngannou the money he’s looking for. Perhaps the PFL along with Jake Paul will find the funding for Ngannou. However, I cannot see Ngannou signing up to compete in a season-type format the PFL offers.
There’s no chance in hell he signs with BKFC. If I had to put money on it, I’d say he finds his way to boxing next. I also wouldn’t completely rule out a return to the UFC if talks can resume after the Jones – Gane fight goes down in March.