The UFC heavyweight champion has been told that he will be free to leave the promotion after his title unification bout with Ciryl Gane should he lose, and may have one more fight if he wins
Francis Ngannou insists he will refuse to fight under his current contract if he defeats Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 next week.
The UFC heavyweight champion will look to defend his title against the unbeaten interim champion Gane at the Honda Centre in Anaheim, and has been told he is free to go should he lose that fight.
If he wins, it is believed that the UFC have options on his contract to allow them one more fight with him, although he has been angling for a boxing match with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
And Ngannou has now sai he will refuse to fight for the current money he is making as champion should the promotion refuse to offer him a new deal.
“No, I will not fight for $500,000 or $600,000 anymore,” Ngannou said in an interview with ESPN. “It’s over.
“I took this fight just for a personal reason, because I want to make sure that regardless of it being unfair, I can make my case that I have completed the fights.”
A major sticking point in the contract talks is that Ngannou is demanding he be allowed to take a boxing match, which he would like to be against either Deontay Wilder or fellow ESPN and BT Sport fighter Fury.
He and the Brit have gone back-and-forth on social media in recent weeks, with the ‘Gypsy King’ offering to wear 4oz gloves if Ngannou will agree to box him.
“One hundred per cent,” Ngannou replied when asked about wanting to box. “We’ve been having discussions for years.
“It seems like they are OK with it. Let’s be honest, I do believe that whatever you are doing, whatever the event is, if the UFC is involved, it’s just going to make it bigger, there is no question.
“So, yes, if I box, I would like the UFC to be on-board.
“Honestly, the only reason we are here is that at some point, there wasn’t good faith in this. I don’t understand why we can’t come to an agreement.”
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Ngannou has long wanted to pursue boxing, and originally travelled to France from his home in Cameroon to become a professional boxer, with MMA coming as a separate opportunity later.
He is current the No.4-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, and believed to be one of the world’s hardest punchers in either sport.
But he faces a particularly stern test at UFC 270 against the 10-0 Gane, who has had a meteoric rise through the ranks in MMA since making his professional debut in 2018.
The La Roche native has already beaten former champion Junior Dos Santos and the one man Ngannou was unable to beat in the UFC; Derrick Lewis.
Lewis dragged Ngannou the three-round distance at UFC 226 in 2018 to grind out a win, but was easily beaten by Gane when the pair faced off last August in Houston.