In a recent turn of events, former UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling asserted that Francis Ngannou emerged victorious in the battle against the UFC.
Earlier this week, a heated exchange between MMA personalities Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen on The MMA Hour captured the attention of the audience. The focal point of their disagreement revolved around Ngannou’s success post-departure from the UFC, ultimately escalating to Sonnen’s threat against Helwani.
Aljamain Sterling weighed in on the matter, emphasizing that the altercation between Helwani and Sonnen went too far. He highlighted the need for a more constructive dialogue in the MMA community.
After dissecting the verbal exchange on his YouTube channel, Sterling shared his thoughts on who emerged victorious in the convoluted “game” of negotiations between Ngannou and the UFC.
Sterling said: “In my opinion, I do think Francis won the game. He got to do what he wanted to do on his terms. It might have taken a while, he might not have gotten paid for a while, but that money now makes up for all of that. He believed and gambled on himself, and he was right at the end of the day. He’s laughing to the bank.”
Following Ngannou’s awe-inspiring victory against Ciryl Gane in January 2022, he entered into negotiations with the UFC with groundbreaking terms. The UFC declined these propositions, prompting Ngannou to ink a lucrative deal with the PFL.
This agreement not only granted him the opportunity to compete in a high-profile boxing match against Tyson Fury but also paved the way for a more financially rewarding career.
Ngannou’s near victory against Fury has opened doors to unprecedented financial prospects for the former heavyweight champion. Many believe he outsmarted the system, ultimately amassing more wealth than he would have with the UFC.
While Ngannou’s success story is undeniably inspiring, Aljamain Sterling cautions other potential free agents to tread carefully. He emphasizes that replicating Ngannou’s feat may not be as simple for everyone.
He said: “As a champion, he defended [his UFC heavyweight title], he left the UFC with the belt, and now he’s got all these other opportunities. So, respect to Francis for that, but again, I just don’t think there’s a lot of people out there with any organization, not just the UFC, that are going to have an opportunity like that.”
Anticipation runs high for Ngannou’s return to MMA under the PFL banner in 2024. In boxing, he is poised for another lucrative bout against a top-tier heavyweight.
Ngannou’s decision to bet on himself and part ways with the UFC has undeniably paid off. His bold move serves as a of hope for combatants seeking to carve their own path in the world of combat sports.