Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has revealed he discussed his departure with Randy Couture.
‘The Predator’ has been out of action since his clash with Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 last January. That outing was an important one for Ngannou, as it could potentially be his last fight in the promotion due to his expiring contract. Despite fighting with a knee injury against ‘Bon Gamin’, he prevailed by unanimous decision.
Despite hopes that the promotion and the heavyweight champion could come to an agreement, they were unable to. Ngannou and the UFC officially announced his departure earlier this month. The company later booked Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight gold in March.
Ultimately, it wasn’t an easy decision for Francis Ngannou to leave. It wasn’t also one that he made without doing his due diligence. That due diligence included a discussion with former UFC champion Randy Couture.
‘The Natural’ had his own battles with the UFC and Dana White and is even banned from attending events today. While Ngannou was happy to discuss his departure with Couture, it was actually something the promotion suggested he do, with the company using the Hall of Famer as a cautionary tale.
“He was upset, he’s not happy about this situation. He [Dana White] saw his champion go away, which is something that probably never happened to him,” Francis Ngannou stated during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour alongside Ariel Helwani. “Matter of fact, two years ago, they were betting on that. Like, ‘OK, you think you can leave the UFC? That’s never happened. Go ask Randy Couture.’ (h/t MMA News)
He continued, “Then, I [asked] Randy Couture exactly what happened, he explained to me, and [I said] ‘OK, this is a different situation.’ Yeah, they said that to my manager, yeah.”
While Francis Ngannou’s time with the UFC is done, ‘The Predator’ plans to continue competing in combat sports. The former heavyweight champion recently revealed his plans to make his professional boxing debut later this year, possibly in July.
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