Former MMA fighter claims UFC star now has ‘courage and confidence’ to stop listening to Dana White and follow Francis Ngannou’s footsteps to earn ‘big payday’

Francis Ngannou’s strategic decision to part ways with the UFC while holding the heavyweight title has set a groundbreaking precedent. By patiently letting his UFC contract expire and then venturing into free agency, Ngannou not only secured a profitable deal with the PFL but also made his mark in professional boxing against Tyson Fury.

Even though he narrowly lost, Ngannou’s ability to knock Fury down in round three showcased his prowess. This audacious move has now inspired other UFC champions to contemplate similar paths, potentially reshaping the future of mixed martial arts.

Dan Hardy talks on UFC fighters chances to follow Francis Ngannou

Ngannou’s recent accomplishments have undoubtedly stirred the pot. Champions like Sean O’Malley are now showing keen interest in boxing, signaling a possible trend shift. Yet Dan Hardy, a former UFC commentator and fighter, predicts that UFC CEO Dana White won’t make such transitions effortless.

Hardy recalled the past Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout. He said that was a unique event, and Dana White was intrigued mainly because he saw something exceptional in Conor McGregor, in addition to the financial benefits. However, Hardy warns that White might not be as accommodating with others. He cited historical instances, as he mentioned when Dana White introduced Chuck Liddell to PRIDE, only for ‘Rampage’ Quinton Jackson to defeat him.

That incident left a mark, and Dana White has since been cautious about risking his top fighters in external promotions. UFC fighters are contractually bound, and they need the promotion’s nod to participate in other combat sports, be it boxing or grappling. Without this consent, any talk of cross-promotional events hits a roadblock.

Image via Daily Express

Hardy believes this could lead to a new era where fighters prioritize their interests, possibly leading to more crossover events and higher earnings. He mentioned potential stars like Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira who might explore such opportunities.

Fighters that excelled after leaving UFC

Ngannou’s approach has highlighted a potential blueprint for fighters. By waiting out their contracts, they might find opportunities beyond a singular promotion’s boundaries. This strategy has not only been profitable for Ngannou but has also expanded his career horizons, offering a lucrative alternative to other fighters.

There are many examples of fighters who found success outside the UFC. Ronda Rousey is the best example of this. She thrived in the WWE after the UFC and has also acted in numerous films. Gegard Mousasi became a middleweight champion in Bellator after his UFC tenure. “Platinum” Mike Perry is the face of the BKFC as of now.

Perry does not have a good UFC record. However, with BKFC, Perry emerged as a top dog and has beaten the likes of Rockhold and Michael “Venom” Page. Moreover, Rachel Ostovich and Paige VanZant have successful financial endeavors via OnlyFans.

It also needs to be noted that Anthony Pettis and Eddie Alvarez did not fare well in Bellator and One Championship, respectively. Both held the lightweight title in the UFC. Interestingly, Demetrious Johnson kept his standards the same even after he was traded to the One Championships.

Do you think fighters should explore free agency to know their worth? Comment below!


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