In a recent interview with High Performance, Francis Ngannou openly discussed the pivotal moments in his career leading up to the highly anticipated boxing match against Anthony Joshua. One notable revelation was Ngannou’s decision to leave the UFC, a move that left him with mixed emotions.
Ngannou disclosed that his departure from the UFC stemmed from disagreements on various fronts. He expressed his reluctance to be dominated or mistreated by the organization, highlighting the significant error he believed the UFC made in attempting to control him.
On parting ways with the UFC, Ngannou said: “First, we disagree on a lot of way that things were going. I think the biggest mistake that the UFC did was to trying to mistreat me or to master me up… I’m so stubborn to be master up.”
Acknowledging the power and influence of the UFC, Ngannou admitted to feeling a sense of fear. The realization that he was positioned against a formidable corporation with numerous stakeholders and financial clout added to the pressure. Despite his determination to pursue his chosen path, the fear of repercussions lingered.
He said: “Of course, [I was scared]. I mean, you have this big corporation, this big company that has a lot of power, they have a lot of investors, they have a lot of financial power, a lot of people have an interest in this company and then you saying you’re getting in the position that basically you are making them lose money, the company will do everything to save that.”
Ngannou’s mindset during his bout with Tyson Fury showcased his resilience and determination. He continued: “I was in that fight. I was thinking about him. I was thinking of what will happen next. I wasn’t thinking about you know I don’t carry my story in the ring… I knew that Tyson is the guy that will always come back from knockdown or something like that, the guy almost come back from knockout so knockdown wouldn’t be an issue for him.”
“So he was cool but how to handle the fight, I wasn’t thinking about anything else except that fight at that moment. Maybe afterward or now we can reflect on that but at that moment, that’s not the thing that you think.”
Reflecting on the controversial split decision, Ngannou highlighted the personal victories he achieved that night. His family witnessing his triumph, living his childhood dream, and proving doubters wrong were more significant to him than a judge’s call.
He went on to say: “I won. Look at me now. Look at my life, look at where I was when you think I lost, you think because some foolish judges make some decision, that change anything in my life? My family that I was telling you about, they was sitting in the first row watching that fight. The dream that I was in since I was kid, I was, that night, living that dream on top of the world I was there.”
“And for all the people that been doubting me I was there proving them wrong. For everybody that ever look me down, I was there proving them wrong. I won everything that night.”
“What would happen if they have given me [the] decision, it makes the boxing look really bad like they need to save their face at some point. I understand.”
As the date for the Joshua vs. Ngannou bout approaches, both combatants are confident and each believe in their ability to emerge victorious.
Ngannou told Joshua: “I will never say never. Nothing is impossible right, we don’t know the strength of Antony Joshua but even though, I don’t believe he has that strength, but we’re going to find out in two months, we’re going to find out and I think the reverse going to happen, I’m going to be the one taking his soul.”
Ngannou’s ultimate plan involves defeating Joshua and vying for the undisputed heavyweight title. However, he acknowledges the challenges posed by Joshua’s recent wins. The match between Joshua and Ngannou is scheduled for March 8, 2024, in Riyadh.