Dana White revealed in a recent interview with The Mac Life that the UFC almost cut ties with Francis Ngannou in 2018 after ‘The Predator’ lost back-to-back fights against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
White claims Ngannou developed an ‘ego problem’ around that time and that the UFC could’ve easily parted ways with him but ultimately decided not to.
“I think the ego problem was a whole different situation,” White said (h/t MiddleEasy). “It’s not even worth getting into, but we got past that. We got past all that. He lost two in a row at one point, and we could’ve parted ways with him, but we didn’t. We stuck with him and now he’s the world champ, and you know… we’ll see how this plays out.”
White recently got into a spat with Ngannou’s manager after the latter voiced his frustration about the UFC booking an interim title bout between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane just four months on from Ngannou’s historic title win against Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.
Here’s what the UFC president had to say about that.
“It’s just a guy from CAA,” he said. “Not the guy who was talking tough on Instagram, that guy is not even the guy I was talking about. It’s his other manager. I don’t know what the pecking order is over there, but yeah, we had a deal and he came back and said we didn’t have a deal.”
Ngannou is hoping to defend his title against Jon Jones despite White insisting that ‘Bones’ will never compete at heavyweight. Ngannou is currently #5 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the promotion.