Conor McGregor insists Francis Ngannou ‘made a mistake’ in leaving the UFC to pursue a big cash prize in boxing…with former heavyweight champion now in talks with KO king Deontay Wilder
- Conor McGregor has questioned Francis Ngannou’s decision to leave the UFC
- Ngannou chose not to step down with the promotion after his contract expired
- Former heavyweight champion wants to test free agency in MMA and boxing
Conor McGregor has questioned Francis Ngannou’s decision to leave the UFC to do free agency testing in search of new pastures.
Despite being the organization’s reigning heavyweight champion, Ngannou chose not to resign from the UFC in January after failing to agree the terms of a new contract that Dana White claimed paid the 36-year-old the best heavyweight in UFC history.
During Ngannou’s absence, the promotion quickly moved on to the heavyweight division by relinquishing his title, with a returning Jon Jones going on to defeat Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285 to become the two-weight world champion.
In the meantime, Ngannou has been linked to several possible match-ups in the martial arts world, including possible crossover fights against boxing stars Deontay Wilder and Dillian Whyte.
Asked for his thoughts on fighters choosing not to stay with the UFC to test the waters of free agency, McGregor emphasized that he believes the promotion represents the “pinnacle” of martial arts.
Conor McGregor claimed that Francis Ngannou made a “mistake” in choosing to leave the UFC
Ngannou has been linked with a move to boxing, with Deontay Wilder (left) and Dillian Whyte (right) named as potential opponents
“What, to go out and have a little search and see if they can get some boxing bucks and everything else?” McGregor told Ariel Helwani from The MMA Hour.
“For me, the UFC is the pinnacle. It’s the company I love, it’s the company I want to be with for the rest of my career.
“When you think of Ngannou… Think of everything he’s got. He was in that PI [UFC’s Performance Institute gym that is free to all active fighters in the promotion] use all equipment.
‘There was no ball to it. No charges would have been filed. He gets shelter, he arranges everything. I thought he made a mistake, to be honest.
“I honestly didn’t know why he did that. It kind of took the shine off how things were going. But look, I wish him well.’
McGregor ventured into boxing in 2017, facing pound-for-pound great Floyd Mayweather
McGregor famously ventured into the squared circle to face Floyd Mayweather in 2017 in an event billed as ‘The Money Fight’.
However, unlike Ngannou, McGregor remained a contracted UFC fighter for his venture outside mixed martial arts, which was co-promoted by the organization.
During the interview, the Notorious also revealed that his return to the Octagon was initially planned to see him complete his trilogy with Nate Diaz, before the Stockton native left the promotion with lightweight contender Michael Chandler who would coach alongside him in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.