Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president, Dana White, dropped a bombshell over the weekend after revealing that Francis Ngannou had been released from his contract and stripped of his Heavyweight title, leaving him free and clear to sign with any promotion.
As a result, former Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, and ex-interim Heavyweight champion, Ciryl Gane, will collide for the vacant title in the main event of UFC 285 on March 4, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For Ngannou, the hunt for a new home begins, and he already has various options.
Following the news of his release, several promoters expressed their interest in acquiring the services of the hard-hitting big man, including Bellator president, Scott Coker, who retweeted an article from a year ago stating that he’d love to bring “The Predator” over to his company where many ex-UFC fighters have found a home.
“We haven’t talked to him because he’s still under contract, he still has championship fights but if he’s a free agent one day and you know the timing’s right, we feel it’s a good fit and you know we’ll decide that time,” Coker said in an interview in 2022. “The philosophy is still the same, look, if you’re a free agent and you want to come shop your wares and your brand and your business, come talk to us because we are in the business of signing the biggest and the best free agents on the planet.”
More recently, however, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) president, David Feldman, told MMA Junkie that his promotion would be preparing to offer the hulking knockout artist to fight in the bare knuckle sphere in the new year.
“We’re very interested in signing Francis Ngannou and would very much like to have him compete in the stacked BKFC heavyweight division,” Feldman said. “We’re tabling an offer for his services, and hopefully fans will see him in the BKFC squared circle in 2023.”
Ngannou fighting in a glove-less fist fight is a terrifying sight to see, at least for the opposition.
Of course, we can expect several other promoters to make their interest known, but many feel Ngannou will try his hand at boxing before he inks a long-term deal elsewhere. “The Predator” has made it known he’s been wanting to crossover to the sweet science, and even promoted a potential bout between he and Tyson Fury last year.
Ngannou has never boxed professionally, so he would be at a huge disadvantage in the ring against the cream of the crop. Still, one can’t help but to fantasize about watching the him face off against boxing’s best big men.
Dana White declared that the UFC brass made Ngannou an offer that would have made him the highest-paid UFC 265-pound fighter ever, so that means that whoever wants to lock down “The Predator’s” services has to come correct with a very lucrative contract offer.
Where do you think Ngannou will be competing in 2023?