The mixed martial arts community was left stunned on Saturday when it was announced that UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou would be released.
After a long period of trying to nail Ngannou down with a new contract, Dana White revealed at the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference that his heavyweight champion would be parting ways with the UFC. This announcement comes after Ngannou turned down an offer that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in the company’s history.
Ngannou’s release wasn’t the only staggering news that White had to reveal. The boss announced that Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane will fight for the vacant heavyweight title on March 4.
Several days ago, Ngannou had everyone speculating he would be moving to the PFL, particularly Jake Paul’s “Super Fight” division, after posting a photo on Instagram with one of his family members wearing a PFL t-shirt.
Paul, who has consistently campaigned for increased fighter pay for MMA fighters, weighed in on the news of Ngannou’s release.
Boxer Jake Paul reacts to Francis Ngannou parting ways with UFC
Francis Ngannou is the baddest man on the planet & is a free agent bc he chose to be. He’s the heavyweight champ in MMA & will be until he loses.
They are not happy about this. But it’s reality, & they have to deal with it. They have to live with that everyday. @francis_ngannou
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) January 16, 2023
“Francis Ngannou is the baddest man on the planet & is a free agent bc he chose to be. He’s the heavyweight champ in MMA & will be until he losses.
“They are not happy about this. But it’s reality, & they have to deal with it. They have to live with it. They have to live with that everyday. @Francis_Ngannou” Paul tweeted.
Ngannou’s next move is yet to be determined, but the 36-year-old has expressed an eagerness to compete in boxing and has teased a super-fight with the reigning WBC champion Tyson Fury on several occasions.
“Remember, boxing was my first love and I still have that fire and dreams inside me. At some point, I’ll take that step. I’m most open to fighting Tyson Fury,” Francis Ngannou voiced in April 2021.
The former UFC heavyweight champion’s departure has caught the attention of numerous major combat sports organizations. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman has been known to pay former UFC fighters handsomely and said the promotion would make Ngannou an offer.
“We’re very interested in signing Francis Ngannou and would very much like to have him compete in the stacked BKFC heavyweight division,” Feldman said Sunday in a statement to MMA Junkie. “We’re tabling an offer for his services, and hopefully fans will see him in the BKFC squared circle in 2023.”
Would you like to see Francis Ngannou test himself in boxing or BKFC? Let us know in the comments!