UFC Champion Francis Ngannou is Rumored to be a Free Agent
It is being reported that UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has broken free from the UFC grasp and is hitting the free-agent market.
Ngannou’s contract has been a hot topic since he defended the heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane in Jan. 2022. The fight was Ngannou’s final bout on his UFC contract; however, he did not immediately become a free agent. This was due to different aspects of his UFC contract that extended the deal.
At UFC 270, Ngannou expressed that his contract would expire in Dec. 2022. In addition, it has been nearly a year since UFC 270. That year mark is important as Ngannou likely had a one-year extension in his contract.
By the sounds of it, at worst, Ngannou will be a free agent within the next 10 days, at best, he is already a free agent.
It is difficult to grasp specifics on contract situations as a lot of UFC contract details remain private.
Overall, there has been a lack of concrete information regarding this situation which has led to a lot of questions. Earlier this morning, Mike Heck of MMAFighting reported on “Heck Of A Morning” that he believes it is unlikely that Ngannou is a free agent. That opinion was based on an unreleased interview he had with Ngannou’s coach, Erick Nicksick.
Ngannou has thrown fire onto his rumored free agency. The champion has posted photos on Instagram where one of his family members can be seen wearing a Professional Fighters League (PFL) shirt. This came shortly after the PFL announced they were signing Jake Paul and creating the PFL PPV Super Fight Division. Needless to say, if Ngannou jumped to the PFL, it could greatly shake up the MMA landscape.
It is unlikely that the UFC wants to see Ngannou leave the organization. The UFC has been working to book the UFC champion against former lightweight champion Jon Jones. If the UFC loses the free-agent bidding for Ngannou, they would also lose out on one of the fights of all time.
If Ngannou is truly a free agent, he will be one of the biggest free agents in the history of MMA. It is not every day that the sitting UFC champion becomes hits the open market.