UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou has revealed another pillar that could stand in the way of a potential contract extension with the UFC.
Not many heavyweight fights have had stakes as high as the upcoming unification title fight between Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. Without even delving into the Cameroonian’s contractual status, an enticing backstory has always existed: ‘Coach Fernand Lopez brings a new threat to take down his former student-turned-foe…’
But beyond the story of former teammates and clashing heavyweight styles lies an uncertain future and a fractious relationship between the UFC and one of its top champions, one that could mend or break at the culmination of the UFC 270 main event.
Ngannou Won’t Let The UFC Stand In The Way Of His Boxing Aspirations
With the January 22 headliner marking the final appearance on Ngannou’s contract should he be defeated by his French heavyweight rival, the build-up to the first pay-per-view of 2022 has largely surrounded the public feud and negotiations between the titleholder, his management, and MMA’s premier organization.
Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin, recently suggested his client’s grievances with the promotion stretch beyond money and were rooted in a feeling of disrespect and underappreciation. While Dana White recently provided a positive update, it appears “The Predator” is looking to include an unlikely clause in his contract.
During an interview with TMZ Sports, Ngannou reiterated his intention to try his hand at boxing, a future venture he’s consistently expressed his desire to pursue. Hoping to see how his power crosses over into the squared circle, the powerhouse suggested he wants to test himself against two of the top heavyweight boxers in the world.
“Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder. I would like to test myself to that level. It’s not the same sport, although I’m the champion, I’m in the top in this division. At the end of the day, it’s just about like trained hands, trained punches, having a good delivery system to produce bombs, and I’m sure that if I deliver my own punch, it’s pretty good, I can make some damage.”
With that in mind, Ngannou won’t be letting his UFC career hamper his ambitions in the ring. If he’s to re-sign with the promotion in the coming weeks, “The Predator” wants the option to transition to boxing to be a part of any new deal, which is a seemingly ambitious ask given White’s reluctance to allow his athletes to compete elsewhere.
“It’s always been down the line. This is something I’m not taking my eyes off of,” Ngannou said. “It’s gonna happen, either way. Even if, when the UFC and I finalize a deal, the boxing part has to be into it because I can’t see myself retire without boxing.” (h/t LowKick MMA)
Despite his uncertain future and ongoing negotiations with the UFC, not to mention his apparent increasing boxing ambitions, Ngannou will need to have his focus streamlined on the immediate task in front of him. That’s to unify the heavyweight belts by stalling the surge of undefeated interim champion Gane.
Beyond that, not much is known about who Ngannou could face and whether he will re-sign with the UFC, but what appears certain is we’ll be seeing the Cameroonian behemoth inside the squared circle before his career is done.
How do you think Francis Ngannou would fare in the ring against Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder?
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