Aljamain Sterling Reveals Mistake Francis Ngannou Made With UFC Split

Aljamain Sterling feels Francis Ngannou will experience more losses than gains after his release from the UFC.

Ngannou is the biggest story of MMA right now after the UFC cut ties with the heavyweight champion last weekend. Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane will now compete for the vacant heavyweight belt at UFC 285.

Ngannou’s strained relationship with the UFC hit a breaking point in recent days. The promotion offered Ngannou the most lucrative deal in UFC heavyweight history, but he turned it down.

Ngannou had been critical of the UFC’s business model and the way the promotion treats fighters. Specifically, the UFC’s contract structure doesn’t allow fighters the freedom to compete in boxing and other ventures.

While Sterling feels Ngannou’s concerns with the UFC are justified, he feels Ngannou’s star power could suffer as a result of the decision to walk away.

Aljamain Sterling: Francis Ngannou Needs The UFC

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Sterling gave his thoughts on Ngannou’s release and the mistake he made.

“I’m actually saddened by that,” Sterling said of Ngannou’s release. “I’m gonna say both sides of the party messed up. I think Francis needs the UFC in regards to continuing his rise into the mainstream. People know who he is, but I think for him to get to that next level, he beats a guy like Jon Jones, that’s undeniable. He goes out, he’s a free agent…how much money is he gonna really generate from these other promotions? I don’t know…can he get the Tyson Fury fight? Then good for him, because that’s going to do huge numbers maybe.”

Ngannou has been focused on a crossover fight with Tyson Fury over the past year. He wasn’t allowed to negotiate while under the UFC banner but now has the freedom to do so.

One issue that Ngannou could run into, if he still wants to compete in MMA, is the lack of heavyweight competition in other promotions. While there are some impressive heavyweights in the PFL and Bellator, some argue they aren’t close to the level of the UFC’s.

Sterling has had his own gripes with the UFC since earning the title via disqualification at UFC 259. He feels the UFC hasn’t been on board with his title reign, despite impressive victories over Petr Yan and TJ Dillashaw.

Ngannou earned the title by defeating Stipe Miocic at UFC 260. He defended the belt just one time in a victory over Gane at UFC 270.

Ngannou will still likely be a recognized name in other promotions, although Sterling thinks he won’t be a mainstream athlete outside of the UFC.

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.