Currently, the titles in the UFC’s two heaviest divisions sit vacant. While the light heavyweight belt entered the year in that state, the strap above recently became ownerless owing to the exit of Ngannou, who’d held the belt through one defense since knocking Stipe Miocic out in March 2021.
With the promotion unable to come to terms with its heavyweight king, even in spite of the extension activated through the champions clause last January, “The Predator” was stripped of the gold and has entered unrestricted free agency, which includes the UFC no longer having the right to match any offers.
White announced the news during the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference this past weekend. After noting that the organization’s final offer would have made Ngannou the highest-paid heavyweight of all time, the UFC president suggested that the Cameroonian is seeking ‘easier’ competition.
“We offered Francis a deal that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight in the history of the company. More than Lesnar, more than anybody, and he turned the deal down” White said. “I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risk. Feels like he’s in a good position where he could fight lesser opponents and make more money. So we’re gonna let him do that.”
After many pundits and fans dismissed that claim, one former titleholder followed suit.
Alvarez Laughs Off White’s Suggestion Ngannou Is “Afraid”
Along with the news of Ngannou’s departure, White confirmed that former light heavyweight king Jon Jones will compete for the vacant title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 on March 4. Entering the year, it appeared that the targeted bout was “Bones” versus “The Predator.”
While the UFC president appeared to state that Ngannou’s exit derives from a desire to avoid names like Jones, Eddie Alvarez sees things differently.
On Twitter, the former 155-pound UFC champ took humor out of White’s suggestion that the ‘scariest motherf*cker alive’ could possibly fear the competition inside the Octagon.
“Ufc simply lost the bid for Francis, instead of admitting that, they go with the narrative the the Scariest mother f*cker alive is Afraid to fight in the UFC hahhahahahhahahahhahahahhaa,” Alvarez wrote. “These jokes write themselves #PHSUnreal”
Alvarez, who briefly held the lightweight title in 2016 prior to a collision with MMA superstar Conor McGregor, departed the UFC at the conclusion of his contract in 2018. After going on to make four appearances in the ONE Championship Circle, “The Underground King” became a free agent again in 2022.
Do you agree with Eddie Alvarez’s take on Francis Ngannou’s UFC exit?
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