Despite having heavily invested in the career of heavyweight Francis Ngannou, it appears the UFC could lose its stalwart knockout artist to another promotional company if the 33-year-old French-Cameroonian transplant doesn’t receive the title shot he craves.
“The problem is the power is on one side, and the UFC decides what happens,” Ngannou revealed to me for Bleacher Report. “That’s rough, but that’s how it is. You do what you have to do, and what I’m concerned about is fighting out my contract.”
Might Ngannou be headed over to Bellator, ONE Championship or another MMA promoter after his UFC contract is up?
Or was Ngannou simply throwing his weight around a bit to help move things in the direction he desires?
Read “Will UFC’s Uncrowned Heavyweight Champ Francis Ngannou Remain That Way Forever?” at Bleacher Report to decide for yourself.
Ngannou Is Often Compared to Mike Tyson
Ngannou has been compared numerous times by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan to former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Like the famed boxing champ back in the 80s and 90s, Ngannou possesses a rare blend of speed and power that helps him decimate his opponents inside the Octagon the way Tyson blasted them out inside the boxing ring.
Still, Ngannou told Heavy he didn’t quite agree with that comparison.
“I don’t know about that,” Ngannou said. “I think Mike Tyson was just a great fighter, and I’m flattered to be described like him but I don’t think it’s the same thing.”
Perhaps it’s that Ngannou grew up in Cameroon idolizing Tyson. Indeed, Ngannou described meeting Tyson last year as “something special and incredible” and said he was grateful to have received words of instruction and encouragement from one of boxing’s best fighters ever.
Moreover, Ngannou hailed Tyson as the best fighter ever.
“For me, he’s the best of all-time in combat sports,” Ngannou said. “He’s the technical perfection of the heavyweight that I haven’t seen so far [since].”
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Ngannou Impressed With Tyson’s Viral Training Videos
Of course, Ngannou was just as impressed as everyone else with 53-year-old Tyson’s recent viral training video that took the sports world by storm last week and has caused some to speculate that the former boxing champ might be headed back to the sport in earnest.
“I saw that,” Ngannou said. “Even when [I met him] he made some demonstrations that were really impressive for him being 53 years old. He still has this explosiveness…and everything.”
Ngannou said once a fighter becomes as great as Tyson was at knocking people out, it’s something that’s never forgotten.
“When you know it, you know it,” Ngannou said.
Ngannou Is the UFC’s KO Machine
Like Tyson, Ngannou is also someone who knows how to score knockouts.
While UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and top-rated contender Daniel Cormier keep posturing over the presumed third fight between them, Ngannou is getting back to work this weekend at UFC 249 against undefeated terror Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Ngannou hopes beating the No. 6 ranked heavyweight the UFC has to offer will finally nab him another shot at UFC gold. Entering UFC 249 on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Fla., Ngannou has earned three straight stoppage wins to vault back up to No. 2.
But the “Mike Tyson of MMA” seems sick and tired of waiting on his next title shot, so it would probably make sense for UFC president Dana White to start looking for ways to give Ngannou what he wants.
Boxing is hard to imagine without Tyson’s amazing reign as heavyweight champ. The UFC probably doesn’t want to miss out on having its own similar run by Ngannou.