There’s still time to get a new deal done, but Francis Ngannou has the unique opportunity to become a free agent and possibly be the first to escape that controversial UFC champion’s clause.
Given the UFC heavyweight champion’s contract situation, his former opponent believes he should test the waters and possibly even switch sports. According to Curtis Blaydes, who is fresh off another main event win this past weekend, Ngannou should prioritize his earnings.
“If I’m him, I’m just going to box,” Blaydes told MMA Fighting. “They make a lot of money, and he would make a lot of money against [Anthony] Joshua or Tyson [Fury] or Deontay [Wilder]. He would be rich. So if I’m him, I would let my knee heal up and get ready to box.
“It’s always good to know that there’s something on the other side of MMA, because you can’t fight forever, and at the end, you just want to get your money,” he said. “That’s always going to be a good avenue. If you’re doing up your name and brand in the UFC and MMA, you have the opportunity to transition over into the boxing world, and you can make a lot of money at the end of your career.”
It’s worth noting how Blaydes can potentially benefit from Ngannou leaving the UFC, as it would free up a path to the title, with him already having two losses to the champion. That being said, I doubt that situation changes his thoughts on the matter.