Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has opened up on his departure from the UFC.
On Saturday, UFC President Dana White announced that Ngannou had been stripped of his heavyweight title and released from the company after failing to agree on the terms of a new contract.
On Tuesday, the Cameroon superstar appeared on a special episode of The MMA Hour, completely dedicated to him revealing his side of the story. The 36-year-old quickly disclosed he was offered around $8 million to fight Jon Jon Jones at UFC 285, the exact figure Brock Lesnar made at UFC 200.
Francis Ngannou tells @arielhelwani that he was not sure whether what the UFC offered him would have made him the highest paid heavyweight in UFC history because nobody knows what anyone has made historically.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) January 17, 2023
“I knew it would happen at some point but I have no stress, I feel very good about it and I know that I did everything right and I have no regrets. If I had to do it again, I would do the same thing. The last time I spoke to them was last Tuesday, they tried one more time and I couldn’t say yes. It was just a matter of principle and at that time I knew this was it.
“They didn’t say on the phone that this would happen, but I knew this was coming. I didn’t do anything wrong. It doesn’t matter what happens. I really hoped for this to work out and wished we could find a way for this to work out. I always see myself in the UFC, I never envisioned myself outside of the UFC. I was willing to compromise over and over but I got to the point where I just said, ‘guys give me a break’.
“I guess money was a part of it but it wasn’t all about money. They don’t talk about what the negotiation was about. They just talked about the money to make it the biggest heavyweight contract in history, they control the narrative, but I wish it could have worked out. It was a three-fight deal, I asked for the three but no extension. One was Jon Jones, Stipe then a rematch with Jon Jones.” Ngannou told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.
Ngannou wants to be in control of his own destiny
For Ngannou, it was all about gaining respect and not being controlled by anyone other than himself.
“I need some respect. More respect at least. I need some freedom. I need to feel like a man. Control my destiny. Decide what I’m going to do.”
Now listed on the market as a free agent, Ngannou is expected to receive several offers from several organizations, such as PFL, Bellator and BKFC.
What do you think is next for Francis Ngannou? Let us know in the comments!