Friday, May 27, 2022

Kamaru Usman States What Must Happen For A New Ngannou/UFC Deal

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman has given his take on the ongoing contractual dispute between the promotion and his fellow African titleholder Francis Ngannou.

All is not well between the UFC and its heavyweight king. If that wasn’t evident before UFC 270, where Ngannou faced Ciryl Gane in a unification showdown, it certainly is following it.

In the aftermath of the Cameroonian’s triumph in Anaheim, Dana White’s post-fight absence, both in the Octagon and at the post-fight press conference, seemed to indicate the animosity between the two parties had reached a peak.

While White later attempted to clarify it as simply being needed elsewhere at the time, that explanation didn’t appease many in the MMA community.

Beyond that, Ngannou made several claims in the following week, including the revelation that the UFC had threatened to sue his manager for an alleged talk with Jake Paul’s manager prior to UFC 270.

With “The Predator” now on the sidelines following a knee injury and out of contract in December, as well as his statements about being willing to do “whatever it takes” to get what he wants, many believe we could see the champion exit the promotion.

Kamaru Usman, who was in Ngannou’s corner at the January pay-per-view, believes there is a way for the UFC to form an agreement with the heavyweight powerhouse. If that’s to happen, “The Nigerian Nightmare” says compromise is crucial.

“There’s things that they need to sit down and they need to talk about, 100%. Francis Ngannou, that’s my brother. I believe Francis is always going to be worth more than he’s getting, absolutely,” Usman said during an appearance on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay. “If he can go to boxing tomorrow and they’re paying $50 million, I think he’s worth more than that. So that’s something that they need to sit down with the company because there’s plenty and plenty of athletes that were unhappy that were eventually sat down and something was done.

“No one side is always going to get more than—you’re going to come to a compromise,” Usman suggested. “And I think they need to come to a compromise. Can he get more? Absolutely. Should he get more? Absolutely.”

A UFC Exit & A Fury Superfight?

If a compromise can’t be found, it appears Ngannou will be pursuing fresh pastures come 2023, which may come in the form of the squared circle.

Boxing has long been on the champ’s mind, even before his decision to pursue MMA. Now, with his success and stardom, Ngannou is looking to venture to the ring for some blockbuster crossover fights. “The Predator” even labeled the need to be able to box as a key factor in negotiations with the UFC.

If he does need to depart MMA’s biggest stage to be able to step between the ropes, it appears he’ll have a certain “Gypsy King” awaiting him.

While Ngannou has gone back and forth with WBC and The Ring Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury for a while now, the Englishman recently stepped up talk of the superfight by suggesting it could happen in Las Vegas as soon as March next year.

Given Kamaru Usman’s own desire to transition to the ring to face pound-for-pound great Canelo Álvarez, it stands to reason he’ll be supporting his friend and fellow African’s pursuit of a crossover fight all the way.

Do you think the UFC and Francis Ngannou will come to an agreement before the end of the year?

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