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Ngannou eyed 3-fight deal, changes to UFC model before leaving promotion

FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty

Francis Ngannou has broken his silence on his dramatic split from the UFC.

The former UFC heavyweight was released and stripped of his title on Saturday, ending a yearslong dispute between Ngannou and the promotion over his future.

In an interview Tuesday with Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour," Ngannou said he was hoping to secure a new three-fight deal, with no automatic extension, for two matchups with Jon Jones and a trilogy bout with Stipe Miocic.

However, Ngannou said the UFC refused to move from its negotiation positions.

"I was willing to compromise over and over and over and over. ... But guys, give me a break," he said. "Give me something. And I'm not asking for (the) sky ... it wasn't all about money. I need some stuff, and they will never talk about (that) stuff."

Ngannou said he attempted to push for significant changes to the UFC model - including once again allowing fighters to have sponsors and having the promotion pay for fighters' health insurance - but was rebuffed.

"They said no, they don't do business like that," he said.

He added that he would've earned around $8 million to take on the former light heavyweight champion, similar to Brock Lesnar's payout from UFC 200.

In his press conference Saturday, White suggested Ngannou was running from the Jones fight and wanted to take on less risk in other combat sports ventures. But Ngannou shrugged off White's opinion.

"Dana cannot hurt me," he said. "Saying things cannot hurt me. From where I come from, I have heard a lot worse than that, and yet, I'm still here."

After announcing Ngannou's release, White said Jones will return against Ciryl Gane in a main-event bout for the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 285 on March 4 in Las Vegas. White also said Jones, who hasn't fought since February 2020, inked a new eight-year deal ahead of his long-awaited move to heavyweight.

While Ngannou won't get the big-name matchup with Jones, he's got his eyes on a few superstars in boxing.

The Cameroonian said he's eyeing a potential fight with heavyweight king Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.

"Whatever it is, if it's with Tyson Fury, I would take it," Ngannou said when asked if he wanted a true boxing fight or a special rules matchup.

The 36-year-old has long made it clear he wants to move into boxing, which was seemingly a sticking point in talks with the UFC.

Ngannou leaves with a 12-2 record in the UFC, including two title-fight wins and 10 knockouts.

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Ngannou eyed 3-fight deal, changes to UFC model before leaving promotion
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