Francis Ngannou finds Dana White’s insinuation that he’s afraid to fight Jon Jones completely ridiculous.
The former UFC heavyweight champion walked away from the promotion after nearly two years of negotiations failed to give ‘The Predator’ the one thing he wanted above all else; freedom. The news was broken by the UFC president himself on Saturday night stating that Ngannou was leaving to fight “lesser competition,” suggesting that the Cameroonian-born fighter was afraid to compete with some of the biggest names in the promotion, specifically Jon Jones.
Accusing a fighter of being scared is a fairly standard go-to comment by Dana White when he doesn’t get to sign or re-sign top-shelf fighters. Francis Ngannou opted to respond to White’s comments directly in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel. In the clip, ‘The Predator’ revealed that he was in fact scared, but not of Jon Jones or any other fighter. He was scared of being “trapped” by another restrictive UFC contract.
“Dana also said I’m scared of fighting Jon Jones or somebody else which I don’t know where they came from with that one. That sounds very ridiculous in my opinion, with all due respect. Because I’ve been calling for this fight for over two years. I’ve been waiting for this fight forever and I’ve been fighting guys even with one knee. With injury and now why do I be scared of them when I feel even more confident? No, I’m not scared. The only thing I’m scared of is to be trapped. It’s not to lose my freedom which I value very much. You guys know how the UFC contract can be restrictive and as an independent contractor, you don’t really have a say in that contract. You don’t even have a right, so I can’t do that.”
For Ngannou, freedom was the most important thing. Freedom to choose who he fights and when he fights. That’s not always an option for those under UFC contracts. Unless your name is Conor McGregor.
“Anyone who doesn’t [want] to be here, doesn’t have to be here. You know that’s not true, right? You know how restrictive the UFC contract can be for contract that’s supposedly an independent contractor. There’s not really a lot of things you can want or you can do when you are in that contract. They decide for you. I signed my last contract in December 2017. Even at the time, I knew it wasn’t a good contract, but I know I have to earn my position. Become a champion. Have more value in order to negotiate a better deal for me. I need to add more value to myself.
“That’s what I’ve been doing in the past five years which is okay. I never really complained with that contract no matter what happened. The only thing that I wanted was the right to deliver that contract to terminate that contract as I should and move on to the next one. I do believe I have that right at least. That’s called freedom. To be able to terminate a contract to start another one. And if the new one doesn’t suit your condition, you’re also free not to sign without bad blood.”
— CrisCyborg.Com (@criscyborg) January 17, 2023
Francis Ngannou Aiming For Pro Boxing Debut in March
As far as what comes next for Francis Ngannou, a turn inside the squared circle is the likeliest scenario. With the potential to cash in on a big money fight with a name like Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, ‘The Predator’ will look to get at least one big payday in the world of professional boxing before returning to mixed martial arts.
“I want to start doing some boxing first before I step into MMA because regardless, I have so much excitement and so much love for MMA that I feel like I haven’t delivered everything regarding MMA. But I also want to do some boxing match, so yes. Maybe explore the possibility to do one boxing match in March and come back into MMA with another organization or my own promotion.”
Ngannou would have happily re-signed with the UFC if the two parties could come to terms, but in the end, the undisputed heavyweight king had to do what was best for himself and he encourages others to follow the same path.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t come to a term which I wish we could, but it is what it is. As an independent contractor, I have to look after myself and do what’s right for me and everyone out there should do the same for themself.”