Francis Ngannou is celebrated for his prowess inside the MMA Octagon. But he recently redefined his career trajectory.
Departing from the world of MMA after a successful seven-year stint, he ventured into new territory in order to seek grander opportunities. His decision bore fruit in less than a year, culminating in a highly anticipated and financially rewarding clash with boxing icon Tyson Fury.
Ngannou’s performance against the WBC heavyweight world champion in Riyadh was nothing short of sensational. His remarkable skills captivated audiences worldwide and ensured substantial compensation for him.
Reflecting on this, Ngannou expressed his satisfaction by citing the significant disparity in earnings compared to his entire MMA career.
In a conversation with Showtime Sports’ The Last Stand podcast, he said: “First off all, whatever would have been my next fight, from the moment that I left the UFC, was going to be way different from what I made.”
“Because in the past three years in the UFC, I was in a contract issue that I didn’t want to sign a new contract that would have given me more money, but not enough, right?”
“Also the conditions and the terms which would have prevented me from doing boxing, which was one of my ultimate dreams that I wanted to do. So it would have been different, even from my next MMA fight, completely different.”
“It’s at least more than everything that I have earned in my life, in my career.”
Francis Ngannou has been one of the most sought-after combatants on the globe after his incredible performance against Fury last month. Almost all of the top heavyweights have shown interest in facing the former UFC champion.
Expressing his desire for challenging opponents, Ngannou voiced a preference for facing the best in the field. He said: “I prefer to fight the top fighters. Why did I feel Tyson Fury? Because he was the top of the game. I want the best. I want the big fights. I want a big show. I want everything big. But, at the end of the day, it’s a sport and we do what we have to do.”
Despite confronting formidable adversaries in the past, such as Derrick Lewis, Cain Velasquez, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Ngannou acclaimed Tyson Fury as the most formidable puncher he encountered.
He said: “Fury punches pretty good. I ate some of his shots – he punches very strong. And he was with 10oz gloves, because MMA fights are 4oz gloves. In boxing it’s 10oz. I think, so far, he is the top [hard hitter.]”
Ngannou’s resilience and skill were evident in his encounter with Fury, notably when he downed the experienced boxer in the third round.
Reflecting on this moment, Ngannou remarked: “I was [feeling] pretty good. I mean, I have watched Fury many times, I have watched him take a strong hand, go down, unconscious and then come back. So I knew [I could knock him down. I was expecting [more] because I was looking at him, his eyes were open, he looks like he was all conscious.”