Sean Strickland wants Francis Ngannou to stay in the UFC, but encourages his Xtreme Couture teammate to go after the most lucrative fight in free agency.
Fresh off his unanimous decision win against Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Vegas 67 on Saturday, Strickland responded to the recent news regarding Ngannou, who was released from his UFC contract. The ex-UFC heavyweight champion was in contract negotiations with the promotion when they fell apart, which led to his surprising release.
Though he dislikes how Ngannou and the UFC separated, Strickland likes that the ‘Predator’ can go after someone like Tyson Fury now.
“I think it’s a damn shame to see Francis go,” said Strickland at the UFC Vegas 67 post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Fighting). “He’s f—king iconic in the UFC. I mean, he’s probably one of the greatest heavyweights we’ve ever had.
“It sucks he parted ways, but I hope that him and Tyson Fury fight for a lot of f—king money,” continued Strickland. “That’s the fight we deserve. Again, it sucks he left. I’d love to see him fight in the UFC, but if the ‘Gypsy King’ sacks up and takes that fight against Francis, I mean, that’s ‘go f—k yourself money’. That’s like ‘I could f—king piss in a golden toilet seat. I can do whatever I want.’ It sucks he leaves, but if he can get that big money fight with Tyson, hat’s off to you, Francis. Enjoy your ‘go f—k yourself’ money.”
During his contract negotiations with the UFC, Ngannou requested a special clause that would allow him to box. The 36-year-old and Fury would regularly tease a potential fight, with the ‘Gypsy King’ going as far as to promote the ‘Clash of the Titans’ on several occasions.
One of the most notable ones was when Fury and Ngannou had a face-off in the boxing ring after the former knocked out Dillian Whyte to retain his WBC heavyweight championship this past April. Fury vs. Ngannou may not have materialized then, but it can now. Whether it does remains to be seen.
With Ngannou released, the UFC has scheduled Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 285 on March 18 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.