Recently, the UFC officially confirmed that Cameroonian heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou (17-3) is no longer bound by a contract with the organization, and his belt has been declared vacant.
The parties tried for a long time to agree on the terms of cooperation, but nothing came of them. According to rumors, Ngannou is serious about pursuing a career not in MMA, but in boxing – there the fees are much more solid.
One of the options for the ex-UFC champion is a fight with WBC belt holder British heavyweight Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs).
The current boxing columnist and former cruiserweight champion Briton Tony Bellew believes that Ngannou made a serious mistake: “To be honest, I don’t care what rules they fight by. But I believe that we are really talking about a fight with Fury. Let them fight even in a telephone booth or on the roof of a skyscraper. But I am sure that their fight will take place. I only know that this is not about a duel according to the rules of MMA, because in such a confrontation Ngannou would have killed Fury.
Bellew is sure that Ngannou should not go into boxing: “It’s kind of a shame. He will not survive in the ring against any near-top. Yes, according to MMA rules, he is the best in the world in his weight. That’s the reason he needs to stay where he’s really good.”
UFC top middleweight Sean Strickland had the same reaction to the news: “Ngannou leaving the UFC is a fucking shame.”