One of the UFC’s biggest stars says the business ‘has to change’ after heavyweight king Francis Ngannou’s exit

One of the UFC’s biggest stars says the business ‘has to change’ after heavyweight king Francis Ngannou’s exit

  • Israel Adesanya said Francis Ngannou’s exit from the UFC is “a great hit to the company.”
  • The former UFC middleweight champ also said Ngannou “made the right call” to leave.
  • Adesanya said things have “to change” at the UFC going forward.
  • Israel Adesanya, one of the UFC’s biggest stars, says the business “has to change” after heavyweight king Francis Ngannou’s exit into free agency.

    With a pro-MMA record of 17 wins (12 knockouts, four submissions, and one decision) against three losses, including victories over Alistair Overeem, Stipe Miocic, and Ciryl Gane, Ngannou was creeping into conversations as the greatest MMA heavyweight of all time.

    But earlier this year the UFC boss Dana White announced that Ngannou would not be re-signing with the company and was free to explore other options.

    Those options could include Bellator MMA and Professional Fighters League, as both organizations have told Insider that they are interested in signing the 36-year-old.

    The fighter, meanwhile, is open to a boxing-rules contest against one of top-tier heavyweights, like Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, or Anthony Joshua.

    “Frances made the right call” leaving UFC, Adesanya told reporters last week. 

    Ngannou asked for ‘things that should be mandatory,’ according to Adesanya

    Ngannou told MMA Fighting’s MMA Hour in January that issues with the UFC and White went back years.

    Ngannou wanted the UFC to make various concessions in a new deal to include things like health insurance, the ability to wear his own sponsors in the Octagon, and options to seek out and secure boxing matches outside of the UFC.

    The UFC wasn’t on board with this, he said, and so the two parties were at an impasse.

    “He’s asking for things that should be mandatory,” said Adesanya. “He wasn’t asking for, you know, crazy, ridiculous diva-ish demands.”

    Adesanya continued: “He’s asking for reasonable demands, and I felt like he should have got them.”

    He then commented on a remark from White in which the UFC president said Ngannou did not get what he requested because, ‘that’s not how we do business.’

    Adesanya said: “The way we do business has to change, and it will change. He’s just the guy to kick in the door, and you never know what the future holds.

    “Maybe he comes back or something.”

    Adesanya expects Ngannou to compete in boxing, then return to the UFC

    Regarding what’s next for Ngannou, Adesanya said the 6-foot-5 knockout puncher could compete in boxing, against one of Wilder, Fury, or Joshua, and then return to the UFC.

    “I think he’ll come back,” Adesanya said. “He’s the greatest heavyweight we’ve ever had.”

    Adesanya added: “He left on his own terms with the belt, never lost it.

    “So I feel he’s gonna do what he has to do in boxing or wherever else. But it’s a great hit to the company. I know he’ll be back, though. He’ll be back.”

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