Former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has been absent from the UFC for half a year, leaving fans to speculate as to where the "Predator" has gone and why he has not signed with another MMA promotion or contracted any boxing matches.
The UFC Alumni's View
Many fighters who have left the UFC recommend taking a break from the contract-bound environment, a sentiment echoed by former UFC fighter Demetrious Johnson. Johnson, who signed with ONE Championship in 2018 and became its champion, believes Ngannou can follow in the footsteps of other successful fighters who left the UFC and make a significant amount of money elsewhere.
“I think it’s good for Francis. There’s many homes. I’ve been successful outside the UFC. Look at Sergio Pettis. He’s been very successful outside the UFC. Look at Anthony Pettis. He made, what, $700,000 fighting Roy Jones Jr.? There’s money outside the UFC”.
Johnson also pointed out the potential for Ngannou to make even larger sums of money in the boxing ring, citing the example of a hypothetical fight with Tyson Fury that could net Ngannou $40 million. “I think with Francis Ngannou, he’s at that spot where he gets to dictate where he wants to go.
He doesn’t want to be locked down under contract. Could you imagine if he fought Tyson Fury and made like $40 million? He’s not going to make that in the UFC in one fight. Maybe he could, I’m not sure. That’s the type of money that you’re going to be able to make in boxing.
I think that’s worth the risk to take”. While some, such as Bisping and Sonnen, are urging Ngannou to return to the UFC, it seems that those who have left the promotion are advocating for the fighter to consider alternative options. Ultimately, the decision rests with Ngannou and his management team.