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Joe Rogan ‘bummed out’ over Francis Ngannou’s UFC departure: ‘I feel like we were deprived’ of Jones fight

UFC 220 Weigh-ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) release of heavyweight titleholder Francis Ngannou last weekend sent shockwaves through the combat community. Many were hoping Ngannou and the promotion could come to terms on a new contract and lock in his superfight with Jon Jones, but that simply didn’t happen.

Following the release of Ngannou, the promotion announced a heavyweight title fight between Jones and Ciryl Gane, which will go down at UFC 285 this March in Las Vegas for the undisputed heavyweight strap. It’s a great consolation prize, but certainly not the matchup fight fans were hoping for.

UFC’s color commentator, Joe Rogan, is one of many who are disappointed to see Ngannou exit the promotion. Not only for a potential clash with “Bones,” but also because Ngannou has proven to be the baddest man on the planet over the past few years.

“I’m so bummed out, man,” Rogan said on a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “I do not like this whole thing. I do not like this at all. I do not like when a champion leaves. I do not like having the best guy in the world not being the champion. I do not like the best guy in the world not fighting for the title against Jon.

“If Francis wanted to resign and he wanted to say, ‘I’m done, I had a great career, I made some money and I’m going to relax,’ OK. Congratulations, sir. You had a great career. But to not make it through negotiations, I don’t know what the deal is. I suspect some of it involved him wanting to be able to box as well, because there very well may be a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.”

Few people blame Ngannou for doing what he did because the UFC heavyweight champion of the world should be paid handsomely and receive some concessions from the promotion. But even though Ngannou was at limited fault for how his UFC contract negotiations ended it doesn’t take away from the fact that the MMA world will now miss the chance to see “Predator” vs. Jones.

“I’m mad because I feel like we were deprived of one of the great fights in MMA – one of the most compelling fights in MMA,” Rogan said. “Doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Ciryl Gane and Jon Jones. I’m very interested in that fight.

“… For Jon, it’s going to be, can Jon take him (Gane) down. How does Jon perform at heavyweight? Can Jon close the distance? Is he as fast? What is the three years off like? Is he hungrier and even better because he’s fired up? Like, ‘Y’all must have forgot,’ he’s got that mindset?”

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