There’s just something about the Heavyweight division that has historically created problems for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) boss, Dana White.
In 2022, the current champion of the division, Francis Ngannou, is fighting for his worth outside of the Octagon and is being as vocal as ever. Openly speaking about his $600,000 payday off his first title defense in January vs. Ciryl Gane, Ngannou believes he should be making as much as some of boxing’s biggest names, which is the reason the talk has begun regarding a potential crossover.
But, until then, Ngannou is resting and recovering after tearing his MCL and damaging his ACL ahead of the Gane bout. The 35-year-old titleholder believes his contract expires in December of this year.
“He’s been in Cameroon visiting his family, so he’s supposed to get back here in the next couple of weeks and we’re supposed to get together,” White told ESPN. “Listen, in the history of this company, the only guy that we’ve ever not signed was Fedor [Emelianenko]. I mean, it’s the only guy we could never sign. So, you know, I’m hopeful and confident that we can get a deal done with Francis.”
Widely considered by many as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko was often linked to “super” fight match ups against former UFC champions Brock Lensar and Randy Couture. Ultimately, the majority of Emelianenko’s U.S. career took place in Strikeforce and his current home of Bellator.
As for Ngannou, the timing of his situation is made all the more interesting due to the desire to have a “super” fight of his own with former Light Heavyweight champion and all-time great, Jon Jones. “Bones,” however, continues to deal with battles outside the Octagon and hasn’t fought since defeating Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision at UFC 247 in Feb. 2020 (watch highlights).