Exclusive: Randy Couture On Francis Ngannou Leaving The UFC: ‘Francis Is Doing What He Thinks Is Best For His Career’

Once in a similar boat himself, Couture comments on Ngannou's current situation.

Ngannou Couture
(via @francisngannou - Instagram)

What does the future look like for Francis Ngannou?

‘Anything’s Possible’

Nobody knows for sure what the former UFC Heavyweight Champion will end up doing after his departure from MMA’s premier organization earlier this month. Boxing? PFL? Bellator? BKFC? There’s a lot of different routes that Ngannou in this next chapter of his career, which leaves Randy Couture to believe the possibilities are endless for the hot free agent. 

“I think anything’s possible,” Couture told Middle Easy, when asked about Ngannou’s next move. “I know Francis still wants to compete, whether Francis goes to Bellator or one of the other organizations out there or goes with the PFL or goes into boxing. There’s a lot of scuttlebutt that he’s interested in boxing as well. Obviously he’s got great punching power. I think he’s still got some things to learn as a purebred boxer. But, that would be interesting as well.”

Couture On Ngannou’s Decision To Depart From The UFC

Like Ngannou, Couture had his fair share of problems with the UFC. In 2007, the former two-division champ went head-to-head with the UFC in legal disputes in pursuit of free agency. However, he decided to settle after spending half a million dollars in legal fees. 

Couture applauds ‘The Predator’ for testing free agency and doing what he thinks is right. 

“I think Francis is doing what he thinks is best for his career and standing up and shining a light on some of the disparaging difference in fighter pay and some of the other stuff that he’s chirped about,” Couture said.

“Obviously that’s a boat that I was in for quite a while with the company as well. So it is what it is. I didn’t actually talk to Francis contrary to popular belief about what was going on with him. I did talk to Eric [Nicksick] and obviously Eric has Francis’ ear and his main training. I basically just told Eric, he needs to stand up for himself and do what he thinks is best for him, keep control of his career and, and do what’s best for him and his career. I think that’s what he’s tried to do.”

‘There’s Nothing New Here’

‘The Natural’ also says Ngannou’s situation isn’t anything we haven’t already seen before.

“We’ve seen this already,” Couture continued. “These types of things have been going on for quite some time. You hear Jon Jones chirping about fighter pay, obviously Jake Paul, who is another signing with the PFL and there would be another great pay-per-view to fight, get one of the Diaz brothers to step up and put that on a pay-per-view. Diaz and Jake Paul would be very interesting as well. But Jake is obviously through these crossover matches in boxing, shined a light and poking Dana about fighter pay and the way he treats his fighters and all that too.

“So, there’s nothing new here going on. Obviously I was in this beef almost from the start when Zuffa bought the company in 2001. That all kind of came to a head in 2006, 2007. This has been an ongoing saga in kind of the growing pains of our sport. It’s one of the reasons why I’m enjoying being involved in the PFL because of the way they do business, because of this new format and the way the fighters have stepped up and embraced that. It’s been fun to be a part of that and it’s a great time to be a fighter. There’s a lot of places to go, apply your wares and show your skills and make a living as a professional athlete. That’s a pretty significant thing in this society today. So, it’ll be interesting.”

Published on January 31, 2023 at 2:05 pm
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