Francis Ngannou is one of the most widely respected and feared heavyweight champions in mixed martial arts history, but he hasn’t fought since January 22, 2022 against heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane.
Gane is set to face UFC legend Jon Jones for the vacant heavyweight crown in March, but for now, much of the attention is focused on Ngannou’s recent decision to leave the UFC.
Ngannou had previously met with longtime UFC President Dana White, and seemed intent on signing an eight-fight deal.
But somewhere in that short span of time, the man known as ‘The Predator’ decided relatively unexpectedly that he needed a change of scenery, and would not be signing White and the UFC brass’ proposed deal after all.
For Ngannou, a 6-foot-4 heavyweight who trains with Xtreme Couture who hails from Paris, France by way of the Cameroonian village of Batié, his decision can be boiled down in one word: freedom.
Ngannou prefers to stay as independent as possible in his work as a high-profile, pay-per-view selling modern day prize fighter, and the UFC didn’t offer him what he was looking for in this department.
The UFC also does not offer the health insurance plan that Ngannou was seeking, adding to his frustration with the organization, which is currently valued at $9-10 billion.
Ngannou Clears the Air On Why He Left the UFC on His YouTube Channel
Addressing his departure for the first time on his YouTube channel, which has over 250,000 subscribers, Ngannou took it upon himself to clear the air regarding his departure from the UFC.
Ngannou currently has an overall record of 17-3 in his MMA career, but he likely will never set foot in the UFC’s Octagon again following the recent series of announcements.
The six-minute, 31 second video can be watched in its entirety below.
“I want to thank the UFC fans who have supported me during this time,” he said. “And thanks to the UFC for the last seven years.”
Ngannou also said that he will be watching the upcoming fight between Gane and Jones, and added that he “will be excited watching that fight.”
According to White, Ngannou’s proposed contract would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in UFC history.
Ngannou also responded to White’s intimation that he is ‘scared’ to fight Jones, saying that he’s been attempting to make the Jones fight happen for years and that he is actually afraid of being “trapped” by a new contract with White’s organization.