Francis Ngannou responds to criticisms from both UFC president Dana White and newly-crowned heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
All his accomplishments aside, Francis Ngannou seemingly isn’t getting the respect that is due to him. “The Predator,” for one, is the newest addition to Dana White’s list of fighters who “don’t want to fight.”
Then there’s newly-minted heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who had this to say about Ngannou right after his victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 285.
“Francis Ngannou is a big ol’ p****y”
Jon Jones responds to Ngannou pic.twitter.com/OWsqI1ybAR
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) March 5, 2023
Thanks to a recent interview with TMZ, Ngannou got the chance to fire back.
“I wanted that fight, as well. I was the one initiating that fight, that idea over two years ago. I wanted that fight, but where was Jon Jones at the time? I don’t know. Nobody seems to be interested, even Dana White. Nobody seems to be interested. They always find a way to go around it.
“Today, it’s not about the fight. It’s not because they want to give me that fight, but it’s the price that it’s gonna cost me to get that fight. I chased that fight for as long as I could.”
Now out of the UFC and looking at potentially higher-paying opportunities, Ngannou says he learned to let go.
“Jon is Jon, and I’m me. I don’t care. I have been saying this for a little while now, I am cool. I’m doing good. I did what’s best for me. I’m happy. And I wish they’d find happiness because I feel like there’s a lot of anger, a lot of unsatisfaction on the other end. But I can’t control that. I can just control me.
“In life, I learned that you have to let it go. Let something go, otherwise, it will cut your hand, take your hand away. I wanted that fight so bad, I didn’t have it, and I couldn’t have it at any cost. That’s what I would always say. Not at any cost.”
White already closed the door on a possible UFC return for Ngannou. The former champion isn’t doing so, but he feels that now isn’t the right time, and likely won’t be for a while.
“I’m trying to manage this as gentle as I could. I did everything in my position, in my power in order for this to move forward. It didn’t work. I never closed the door. But now, I don’t think it’s something that we can discuss about because it’s taken a different proportion.
“I think this has become very personal. Because listen to them talking, they are upset. There’s a lot of anger out there.”
Ngannou is currently looking at possible boxing opportunities against Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. He last competed at UFC 270 in 2022, where he defended his title against Ciryl Gane.
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About the author: Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments. (full bio)