Francis “The Predator” Ngannou, UFC heavyweight champion turned PFL partner and now, a true and indisputable boxer may not have defeated WBC undisputed heavyweight champion Tyson Fury during their exhibition fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But commentators and sports figures alike seem to agree that the real “baddest man on the planet” – who lost a controversial split decision in the match – is without a doubt Ngannou.
However, one person the combat sports community would like to hear from about the Ngannou vs. Fury outcome is UFC president Dana White, who has otherwise been pretty silent on this topic. Ngannou himself, on the other hand, couldn’t care less what his old boss thinks, kinda sorta.
“Who cares?” Ngannou told The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani this week. “Dana White feels like he feels. Personally, I feel great. I think you have to send him an invite so you could ask him. I would like to know, too.”
White criticized Ngannou’s choice in fighting Fury in the first place, accusing him of avoiding a bout with heavyweight champion Jon Jones. White suggested Ngannou was seeking an easier opponent and chasing a lucrative “money fight” with Fury, dismissing such match-ups as “gimmick fights” not in line with UFC standards, despite the organization’s history of hosting similar events.
Following Ngannou’s impressive performance in the fight, which far exceeded expectations, he expressed uncertainty about his relationship with White. Ngannou questioned whether White was pleased with his success, noting that White had previously made negative comments about him. Ngannou humorously referenced White’s earlier criticism about him facing lesser competition, pointing out how this criticism lost credibility after his outstanding showing against Fury.
“We know Dana is Dana,” Ngannou said. “[Dana] said what Dana said, which most of the time doesn’t mean anything. But yes, like a lesser fighter, like Tyson Fury? He was right. That’s what I wanted.”
White wasn’t the only one to try and rain on Ngannou’s parade; rival fighter Jon Jones also took potshots at him throughout the promotion, even though Jones had avoided fighting Ngannou for years.
“But you have to understand,” Ngannou explained. “Dana has the power over a lot of fighters. A lot of them, they are just there to please the boss. They don’t have their own personality, they don’t have their own identity, so they just want to fit in something, and you can’t blame them.
“It costs a lot and takes a lot to stand up and say what you think, and some people don’t just have it. Some people just make themselves a puppet. It’s OK. But I can’t be anybody puppet. I’m too big for that. I’m too proud for that.”
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