Francis Ngannou, Cameroonian fighter, has officially surrendered his UFC heavyweight title after becoming a free agent. The 36-year-old hasn’t competed since defending his championship against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 in January 2022.
Ngannou needed surgery to treat a knee injury suffered during the fight, and he was negotiating a new deal with the UFC at the same time.
He frequently updated followers on the status of negotiations and expressed his desire to fight in 2023, with a fight against the returning Jon Jones being the most likely scenario.
According to Sky Sports, UFC president Dana White stated that his side failed to negotiate a contract extension because Francis Ngannou wanted to make more money for facing less competition. Negotiations between the two are said to have come to a halt, with the Cameroonian claiming that he would no longer ‘fight for $500,000’.
“I’ve told you guys this before – if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be,” White remarked, according to ESPN MMA.
Francis Ngannou had a 17-3 record and won the world title by defeating Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in 2021, and he was undefeated in his previous six battles.
Ngannou was also Africa’s last reigning champion while Nigerians, Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya both lost their belts in 2022.
Francis Ngannou is one of the world’s most popular and feared fighters, but the former UFC heavyweight champion didn’t get there easily. Ngannou, often known as ‘The Predator,’ was born in Batié, Cameroon and grew up in poverty with no formal schooling.
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