Combat Sports

What’s Next for Francis Ngannou?

|
Image for What’s Next for Francis Ngannou?

The much-hyped heavyweight title fight was more of an indication of the undisputed champion’s superiority and legacy in the division rather than the barn burner we expected. Francis Ngannou retained his heavyweight title against Cyril Gane by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46). This fight that didn’t deliver in terms of excitement, but did in terms of action and significance.

The hype and dominant nature surrounding Cyril Gane since he became a pro (10-1) makes his loss difficult enough to accept. However, that already is the case hours after the final bell.

Francis was lackluster at the early stages and many could feel he was losing to the Frenchman after two rounds. Despite looking disoriented and gassed, the champion showed his tactical acumen, producing a resilient final three rounds to put himself ahead.

Ngannou’s wrestling, grappling and tactical periods of aggression did a superb job of keeping a well-known foe limited and reluctant to play to his strengths. This was a strategy that shocked all UFC fans, but it seemed to work well: Ngannou landed several aggressive takedowns.

Gane would seek to recover from this defeat at the earliest possible opportunity. On the other hand, Ngannou has had a lot of unresolved distractions before this fight. So, what’s next for him?

Jon Jones Superfight

While Dana White expressed his uncertainty about the former champion’s intention to take on the big names of the heavyweight division, Jon Jones is certainly determined enough to take another shot. It’s honestly hard to see the result being any different given the way Gane and Ngannou have made other division fighters look like amateurs, but this will certainly guarantee the former champion better paychecks. If Jones is to get a shot against these superstars he needs to be a little more willing to take risks, be more composed and aggressive, but in the end, he will have nothing to lose this time.

Moving On to Other Sports

Having retained the UFC heavyweight title, Francis Ngannou would seek to test himself in the boxing ring at this stage of his career. Francis Ngannou has always reiterated his desire to take on the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. Both sides have engaged in a war of words and seem interested in fighting one another, but have not reached an agreement on where the fight should take place. The fight sells whether there’s a title on the line or not and it’ll be interesting to see how Wilder or Fury fare in the Octagon, or Ngannou in the boxing ring.

Contract Renewal

Ngannou owes the promotion one more fight after his victory against Cyril Gane, as indicated in his contract. A champions’ clause dictates that every time Ngannou wins a championship fight, he must return for one more. The Cameroonian is seeking an improved contract that would assure him better pay and a chance to engage in the boxing ring after expressing his displeasure towards the terms attached to his previous contract. Dana White has taken to social media to express how much he still wants the fighter around but has proven not to be shaken by the fighter’s threat to leave the promotion if his wishes aren’t granted. It will be interesting to see how the whole contract story unfolds between the UFC and the Ngannou camp.

Retirement

Honestly, it doesn’t seem likely that he’s leaving now. Francis is still very talented, becoming more rounded, highly motivated, and is still at a good fighting age. Francis had stated earlier that leaving the promotion will not be the end of good tidings for him and given his legacy, he doesn’t have to fight very hard to earn a lot. It is up to him to decide whether to go ahead. For now, however, a fight with someone else will surely send him back to camp where he looks to improve and maintain his status as champion.

What do you think Ngannou’s next move would be following his most recent victory?


Follow me on Twitter @DrSolar3 for more sports news and discussions. Also, make sure to follow @OT_Heroics for all your sporting needs and @OTHeroicsMMA for all things mixed martial arts!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

Share this article