According to UFC president Dana White, Francis Ngannou will be freed from his contract after rejecting an offer that would have made him the highest-paid heavyweight of all time.
After UFC Vegas 67, White addressed the media and said that Jon Jones would meet Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight championship on March 4. He also added that Ngannou has been released and that his belt had been stripped.
“We offered Ngannou a deal that would make him the highest-paid heavyweight of all time. He turned it down. We’re gonna release him from his contract. He can go and do whatever he wants.”
Ngannou has been attempting to negotiate a new deal with the UFC for more than two years. A recent family photo of Ngannou showed one of his family members wearing a PFL T-shirt. This fueled rumors that he could be preparing to leave the UFC and sign with a rival organization.
Ngannou is perhaps the biggest free agent in MMA history. He may now follow his longtime desire to compete in boxing. He won his last six bouts and concluded his UFC career with a 12-2 record.
After more than three years away, former light-heavyweight champion Jones will now compete for the vacant title against Gane. One of the finest in the world, Jones defended the light-heavyweight title 11 times while competing in the UFC. He also defeated some of the best competitors in history.
In the light heavyweight division, Jones has a 26-1 record. One match was declared a no-contest when he tested positive for a PED after his knockout victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in July 2017.
As the top-ranked heavyweight in the UFC, Gane is regarded as one of the finest strikers in the whole world. He boasts a 9-1 record with only one defeat, against Ngannou in January of last year.