Dana White Remains ‘Hopeful’ To Re-Sign Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou
UFC President Dana White is confident that he can get the issues sorted out with heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou (17-3) is still at a standstill with the company after vocalizing multiple times that he is not satisfied with his current deal. His last appearance at UFC 270 against Ciryl Gane was his last fight, but since he successfully defended his title, it resulted in a contract extension of either three fights or one year.
“He’s been in Cameroon visiting his family, so he’s supposed to get back here in the next couple of weeks and we’re supposed to get together,” White told ESPN.
“Listen, in the history of this company, the only guy that we’ve ever not signed was Fedor (Emelianenko). I mean, it’s the only guy we could never sign. So, you know, I’m hopeful and confident that we can get a deal done with Francis.”
Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko used to be often linked to a super fight against former UFC champions Brock Lesnar and Randy, but that never came to fruition.
Emelianenko, who is regarded as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, has fought out of Strikeforce and his current promotion home of Bellator.
Lesnar recently closed the door on any possibility of returning to the UFC.
“I’m too old,” Lesnar said. “That’s a young man’s sport, and that door is closed. I’m Brock Lesnar, the WWE Superstar.”
Ngannou, of Cameroon, has made it clear that he wants to make more than $600,000 off of fights – which he received at UFC 270 – and he wants to option to box in his contract.
He expressed interest in fighting either heavyweights Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, and it was Fury who responded and accepted the challenge in a series of replies on social media.
But Fury must first face his mandatory opponent on April 23 and defend his WBC heavyweight title.
Regardless, Ngannou has been resting after suffering a knee injury prior to his first title defense. He is expected to undergo knee surgery this month, which is likely to sideline him for the remainder of the year; the expected recovery time is about nine months.