Francis Ngannou opens up on UFC exit

Francis Ngannou opens up on UFC exit
Published on Jan 20, 2023, 6:24:36 PM

Francis Ngannou sat down with Ariel Helwani for a special Tuesday episode of The MMA Hour to discuss his breakup with the UFC for the first time.

With a 12-2, promotional record that includes 10 KO/TKO victories, Francis Ngannou leaves the UFC as an icon. Ngannou has been called the most terrifying fighter in UFC history, as his record includes wins against many notable opponents, like Stipe Miocic, Cain Velasquez, Ciryl Gane, Curtis Blaydes (twice), Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, and many more.

Ngannou said at the beginning of the interview that despite the two sides failing to reach an agreement, he had no regrets about the way he handled the negotiations with the UFC.

“I really hoped for this to work out. I really wished that we could find a way to work (it) out. I’ve been in the UFC (for) the past seven years, and I always (saw) myself in the UFC. I never really envisioned myself out of the UFC. And when it came to this point — because at first, it was just a matter of principle. It wasn’t even an idea of leaving the UFC. It was just like, ‘OK, it’s the principle.

Ngannou also reacted to White's claim that the proposed contract would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history. Ngannou had other specific demands that were denied in place of money. He admitted that he requested board meetings to be attended by a fighter advocate, sponsorship opportunities, and health insurance.

“I hear them talking about money. Obviously, money is a part of it, but it wasn’t all about money. But how about those guys (who) are still at the bottom (making) $10,000 + $10,000 or (lose) a fight (and) make $10,000? They can’t really afford that health insurance.’”

 Dana White's odd leaving remarks from the weekend are not being taken personally by him but rather, they are being seen as a sign of his frustration.

“Dana is Dana. I don’t care about what he said. And Dana cannot hurt me. Saying things cannot hurt me. From where I come from, I have heard a lot worse than that. I think what he was expressing was his frustration.”

Even though Ngannou is currently an unrestricted free agent after failing to reach an agreement with the UFC, the possibility of a comeback is still alive.

“I think I have gotten to a point in my life that, I’m cool, man, you know? I get past everything. I have seen a lot. And one thing that I have also learned in life: never say never.”

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