If the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass hopes to re-sign its current Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, to a new long-term deal, the big man just made things a bit tougher for the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization to lock down his face-crushing services.
According to “The Predator,” the only way he will put pen to paper on a new deal is if a fight against boxing champion, Tyson Fury, is included in the package. Ngannou made the demands during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“The Tyson Fury fight has to be part of the discussion,” Ngannou said during an interview on “The MMA Hour” on Monday (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “That’s not an option. It has to be part of the discussion because if that’s not part of the discussion, it will never be. If I sign another contract now, basically the same model of the contract, I’m screwed. That’s not happening ever. So we have to figure out a way to implement this into a contract.”
Ngannou says he did have dinner with UFC executives awhile back, though the sit-down was mainly to focus on clearing the air, venting his frustrations, and getting on the same page. That said, details regarding a new contract were not discussed. Furthermore, the knockout machine says he is still targeting big fights against Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic because, at the end of the day, there is life after a possible Fury showdown.
“I think UFC is a good promotion, and I want to keep fighting,” Ngannou said. “The Tyson Fury is not my last fight. I want to keep fighting. After Tyson Fury there are still a lot of fights. There’s the Jon Jones, there’s the Stipe trilogy.
“There’s big fights I can do in UFC, and I would really like that to happen,” he continued. “I would really like us to get to a common point. Yes, I can do the Tyson Fury fight on my own, but what’s next? I would like to keep fighting. I would like for us to come to an agreement.”
Ngannou stepped into the ring shortly after Fury disposed of Dillian Whyte over the weekend in the sixth round (see it again here) to discuss a potential “hybrid” fight between the two down the road. It’s a fight that would still need the clearance of UFC officials before it gets the go-ahead.
For now, Ngannou will remain on the sidelines to recover from his recent knee surgery, which could potentially keep him out until early 2023. That gives his team and UFC officials plenty of time to try and hash out a new deal.
But, will the new Fury stipulation torpedo the entire process?