Current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya firmly believes that we have not witnessed the last of Francis Ngannou inside the Octagon.
Ngannou decided to part ways with the UFC in January after lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations. However, the former heavyweight champion recently surprised the combat sports world by signing a groundbreaking deal with PFL. This deal not only secured him a significant financial amount but also appointed him as the chairman for PFL’s expansion into Africa.
In response to the announcement, UFC President Dana White expressed strong criticism towards both Ngannou and the PFL.
During a press event, White stated: “Based on what I know about the deal, which is not much, it makes no sense to me. You’re going to pay a guy not to fight for a year, and it’s already been like  months. He’s fought three times in the last three years.”
White went on to reiterate his position that Francis Ngannou will never step foot inside the Octagon again, despite the promotion’s extensive efforts to retain him.
When asked about the possibility of Ngannou returning to the UFC, White responded: “We negotiated with him for years. It’s over, that’s over. He’ll never be in the UFC again. … I never say never, but I’ll give you a never on that one. We tried.”
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Israel Adesanya expressed his disagreement with White’s stance. Adesanya firmly believes that the story between Ngannou and the UFC is far from concluded. He expressed his conviction that Ngannou will eventually make his return to the Octagon, despite White’s assertions.
“I’m proud of him because his story is very unique, even before he was in the UFC. The story’s not over yet, everybody needs to chill and just watch…everyone wants to be first…this isn’t a guy that just quits.”
“Dana’s said some stuff in the past [about women never fighting in the UFC]…look where we are now! I think he’ll do what he does and come back, and then they’ll pay him what he deserves, what he’s earned, because they f***ed him for a long time.”