‘We Had a Little Issue Before the First Stipe Fight’- Dana White Opens Up on His Relationship With Francis Ngannou

Published 08/06/2021, 8:40 AM EDT


UFC President Dana White and reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou have been at loggerheads since the former announced an interim heavyweight title fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis at UFC 265. ‘The Predator’ and his team had an intense verbal spat with UFC supremo over social media platforms recently.

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In his recent interview with MMA Junkie, the UFC boss had many things to discuss. White also had something to say regarding his relationship with Francis Ngannou.

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“Listen, Francis and I are whatever we are,” White said. “I was all Francis. We had a little issue before the first Stipe fight, you know. We have been what we are ever since. I don’t dislike Francis, you know. We’ll get it done. Try to make him happy and see what we can do,” he added.

According to sources, Ngannou and White’s relationship soured as the former made himself unavailable for the title defense at UFC’s stipulated timetable. This prompted UFC to go ahead with Lewis-who is unbeaten in his last 4 fights-against Gane, who hasn’t tasted a defeat in his career so far.

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As for Ngannou, he became the heavyweight champ at UFC 260 after settling the score with Stipe Miocic. The latter had got the better of him when they had met for the first time in 2018. That loss had exposed Ngannou’s lack of skills on canvas, but he did way better in their rematch prior to securing a highlight reel KO.

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The UFC heavyweight division has never been as much stacked up as it is now. With an interim title fight, the UFC tried to simplify the equation that is brewing up. While the winner between Lewis and Gane is a certainty to fight Ngannou next, it leaves us a question. What about Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic?

It is an undeniable fact that Miocic is the greatest heavyweight champion the promotion has ever seen. So, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to hand him a rematch with Ngannou. Now it’s more likely that he won’t be fighting again this year for the title as there are already readymade contenders available.

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BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: (L-R) Stipe Miocic punches Francis Ngannou of Cameroon in their heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 220 event at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Although he could fight the winner between Ngannou and one of Lewis and Gane. But he has competition in that too. Inarguably the greatest light heavyweight, Jones is looking for a debut in heavyweight. He has targeted 2022 for his debut. Just like Miocic, he too wants a shot at the heavyweight gold.

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The best way to settle the dust is to make a clash between Miocic and ‘Bones’ and the winner gets to fight for the title next in 2022. Although Miocic has agreed, according to White, it remains to be seen what Jones has in his mind. Things are getting interesting in the heaviest division of them all.

What did you make White’s comments on Ngannou?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

552 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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