Francis Ngannou has revealed additional details about his ongoing dispute with the UFC following his successful title defense at UFC 270.
Ngannou defeated interim champ Ciryl Gane in the main event in Anaheim, California on Saturday night to cement his status as the UFC’s premier heavyweight.
But the bout also represented the final fight of his UFC contract, with the Cameroonian powerhouse making clear in the lead-up to the fight that he wants more flexibility – and more money – in his next UFC deal if he’s to continue plying his trade in the octagon moving forward.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been treated good,” Ngannou told reporters at the UFC 270 post-fight press conference.
“It’s unfortunate that I have to be in this position, that I have to say that.
“I feel like everyone should have the right to claim for what’s best for them.
“At the end of the day, we put in a lot of work for this job and we take a lot on our body to make it happen, so we can have a fair and square deal.”
For Ngannou, that “square deal” includes the option to compete in professional boxing, where blockbuster bouts with the likes of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury potentially await.
However, relations between Ngannou’s management and the UFC remain on rocky ground, with the Cameroonian represented by talent agent Marquel Martin of CAA, a major rival to the UFC’s owners, Endeavor.
Ngannou spoke to The MMA Hour on Monday and claimed the UFC had issued a threat to sue Martin while they were en route to the arena for fight night.
“They told me they just received an email from the UFC saying they’re going to sue him for talking with this guy, Nakisa (Badarian),” Ngannou explained.
“I’m like, ‘Who is Nakisa?’ I’m like, ‘Is he the promoter or something?’”
Ngannou explained that he had no involvement with Bidarian, who is best known as being the manager for YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul.
“I don’t know him. I couldn’t recognize him if you put him in front of me.” Ngannou said of Bidarian.
“Secondly, he’s not the promoter.
“It’s not like I can’t have a dialogue with people about boxing. I talk about boxing all the time.”
Ngannou was asked if he actually still wanted to remain with the UFC, and he responded by suggesting the question should be aimed at the UFC themselves, rather than him.
“Good question. Do the UFC still want me to fight there? You should ask them,” he responded.
“They should be the one answering that question. If they make things right, yes (I will stay with the UFC).
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get what I want. As I said even before this fight, I walked into this fight knowing I could have lost this fight. But I reviewed everything, and in me, if this is it, if this is the end, let it be my way.
“It’s going to be on my way. I’m going to make the call on how it ends. It won’t end on somebody’s rules. It will end on my rules. If this is the end, I am happy.
“From where I came from, I have done a lot. Some people might not see that, but I have done it and I am very happy about that.
“I’m proud of myself. That might be my ego, but I’m proud of myself, what I have achieved. But I don’t want all this to take what I have, to change me, to change my principle.”
As for the prospect of potentially being stripped of his title, Ngannou appeared unconcerned.
“No, I’m not worried about that because, at the end of the day, it’s just a belt,” he said.
“As soon as they take the belt away, I’m a free agent.
“This belt will not make a champion. With or without it, I’m still a champion. Let’s be clear about that. Nothing will change my status about being a champion.”